Friday, May 7, 2021

Through the Woods and Over the Rainbow...meet Malina

Mother's Day weekend can be filled with so many emotions. Emotions of loss, of sorrow, or grief, and joy, of fulfillment, or that of waiting. When my husband and I were in the middle of walking through our season of infertility, Mother's Day was one of the hardest weekends of the year. Something we longed so much for but never knew if in fact one day we would see. Living in that faith filled season brought about so much hope that Jesus was at work in our lives. When I first talked to Meagan and Michael I could sense that same hope that as deep in their spirit. Sometimes parenthood doesn't come about the way we dreamed it would when we were little. But when we take those steps of faith that seam so big, the little moments become incredible miracles. On this Mother's Day weekend I hope you give yourself so much grace and know that you are not alone. You are seen and loved so much. 

In Michael and Meagan's Words:

Michael and I have been married for six years. Before that, we dated for eight months and had a four month engagement. 

When our relationship started to become more serious, we used to take my paddle board out on Lake Washington, and talk about our hopes for the future. During one of those conversations, one of us brought up our desire to adopt. I can’t recall who brought it up first, only that the other immediately said “me too.” At that moment, I knew that God was working things together, and that we would adopt in our future. 

What I didn’t know, is that it would be so difficult for us to have biological children. We conceived unexpectedly and early on in our marriage and that ended up in a loss. It was a later loss, and I needed surgery afterwards. Since then, we were unable to conceive. Years passed and we received an “unexplained” diagnosis, meaning, we have no answers for you. “This could be making it harder or that, but we can’t see a reason why you can’t have children.” Yet, it didn’t happen. 

We sought the help of fertility treatments which resulted in two more losses, both of which “should have been” viable pregnancies. And then, we decided it was time to circle back to our initial dream of adopting. 

At first this new journey felt overwhelming. It felt like a jigsaw puzzle to solve without instructions. A friend introduced me to her friend who had adopted domestically, and she recommended Christian Adoption Consultants. So, we reached out and talked to Fallon. Best decision ever, and for sure meant to be.

Fallon became my friend, confidant, and guide through the maze of adoption. After talking with her and receiving a clear roadmap to adoption, her enthusiasm rubbed off and we suddenly felt excited, and hopeful for the first time in years!


This journey felt … different. God was tangibly in it with us. He was guiding us and showing us visibly that we were in the center of His plan. 

Upon learning the cost of domestic infant adoption, we were floored, and wondered how long it would take us to save enough to move forward. My goodness, when we had enough in our “baby fund” we looked at each other and then back at those unsure moments months earlier – humbled, amazed, and almost in disbelief of just how quickly everything came together! Both of our employers offered adoption reimbursement, and our church along with our prior church contributed also. Suddenly funds just started coming in, and it wasn’t like some generous stranger just left a giant check on our door, but a lot of little things happened and equated to a really big amazing thing – we were funded and ready to move forward. Where God guides, He provides! We just had to take the steps of faith.

We had completed the steps leading up to completing our home study in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic during quarantine, which meant that our social worker couldn’t come into our home just yet to complete her report. So, there was uncertainty and waiting.

And then a couple months later once we were home study approved and active with agencies, there was more waiting. The waiting and the “no’s”, the “you weren’t chosen’s” were more difficult than I imagined. I was so happy for whichever adoptive family would be blessed with each child knowing the longing of growing your family, and knew that God had our child out there for us and this just wasn’t it. Yet I sometimes wondered if there was something maybe wrong with us, and it was hard not to feel the rejection. I say that because, if these feelings creep in, you’re not alone friend. Lean into Jesus, because He does have a child planned for your family and soon enough your baby will be in your arms and you are going to love them like you never knew possible. 

The average wait time for families working with Christian Adoption Consultants during the time we were, was around 6 months. We started our paperwork in March, and were an active family in June. October came around and we had reached that mark, and I was beginning to wonder if this was going to happen for us. Then suddenly, we got “THE” email. The one where the expectant mama chose our family’s profile. I still remember the uncontainable JOY we felt, that we were chosen! Our profile wasn’t just going off into a black hole abyss, we were seen and chosen! 

Our story doesn’t have a happy ending just yet folks, but keep reading. 

We spoke to our expectant mama and she liked us but then wasn’t 100% sure and wanted to talk to another family. Wow, blow to the gut! Then my husband wrote her a letter from his heart about what kind of father he would be and parents we would be, and she decided to move forward with us. Relief! Our conversations with her were sporadic, but when we did talk things felt promising, we learned about her and she joked with us asking if we were ready for sleepless nights, and our connection with her grew. Shortly after, we flew across the country to meet her, before her due date. We called Fallon multiple times for her guidance and support to navigate what was ahead of us, I truly don’t know how we would have made it through without her.

We were on our way to our lawyers office to finally meet our expectant mama and talk about her hospital plan, when we got a call from the office. She wasn’t coming.  

Friends in that moment I can imagine myself falling into a puddle on the floor, but that’s not what happened. What did happen, is that I was flooded with overwhelming peace. Unlike any that I’ve ever experienced in midst of a tragic moment, and these words just kept pressing on my heart “GOD ISN’T FINISHED.” We packed up our belongings and flew back home, empty handed. 

I can describe the weeks that followed as nothing but a faith perfecting season. Rather than being shaken, our faith grew. Our peace grew. We leaned into God’s promises, claiming them in our own lives. We sought Him first and everything else faded into the distance. He says He works it out for good friends, and He does, we were closer to Him than ever before. 

And then…

A month later, was finally our time. And I can only describe this season as, better than I could have ever imagined. 

We got THE email again; we had been chosen! This time, our hearts were more guarded, and yet we had more peace. We got to FaceTime with our expectant mama, who we now call Mama M, and friends, it was a connection straight from heaven. I will never forget the moment our case worker asked her “do you have any other questions for them” and she looked at her and then us, and said “I know that they’re the ones.” I felt her words in my very soul, and tears sprinkled my cheeks and I was fanning them dry with my hand, and then … she did the same! The beautiful of adoption… this was it.

We quickly flew to Utah to meet Mama M for dinner before she went into labor, and not only did we get to share a meal with her but her daughter and mom ended up coming too! While definitely nerve-wracking for us all no doubt, it was so very special to break bread with them. A moment etched into our minds and hearts forever.

The next day Mama M went into labor, and we were told due to COVID-19 restrictions we weren’t going to be able to meet the baby even if Mama M did choose to go through with her adoption plan, until Mama was discharged and they left the hospital. We knew she would likely have a C-section, and that this could be up to five days. So, we prayed. And then, we got a call, the nursing staff met and made an exception for us, they gave us a private room, and the best one in the place no less! 

Baby came and we cared for her for two days while Mama M recovered, holding her in our arms as we watched the snow fall outside the window of our room, full of gratitude, and thanking God for this long-awaited moment. Knowing that Mama M may still decide to parent, yet already loving this precious baby so much. This in between moment, is so very stretching. And then, after what felt like an eternity of holding our breath, but was really just a few days, Mama M signed her consent for adoption. 

We were flooded with joy yet also more than anything in that moment I remember considering Mama M and the heartache I know she was feeling. Balancing loss and joy in one moment broke us.  She didn’t get much time with baby girl, who we named Malina, prior to signing papers, so we wanted her to be with her mama the rest of the time in the hospital. I’m not saying this wasn’t hard friends, we were feeling separation anxiety and I even cried! But my goodness, it was good, and we would not have had it any other way. And without us asking, Mama M sent her back to us every night. It was like a beautiful gift to each other. 

We all walked out of the hospital together upon discharge, another moment etched into my heart forever. Mama M mentioned her first born daughter wasn’t able to come into the hospital to meet Malina due to COVID-19 restrictions. So, we asked if they’d like to meet up in a couple of days at our agency’s office. We wanted them to have this time together more than anything. And oh my goodness, the BEAUTY of this moment will never leave me. We spent hours in the office, which felt comfy like a living room with couches and a fireplace. I played with Mama M’s first-born daughter while she and her sister held Malina. Her mom FaceTime’d too, and wanted to see us to say hi! Queue my heart melting. Before we left, they placed a shell crown on my made on their Island, and other on us too jewelry too, and even gave us pieces for Malina for when she’s older. 

I can’t quite describe what I felt in this moment, other than they were welcoming us into their culture. They said “you’re an Island girl now too”. These pieces are heirlooms that we will cherish forever. This is the beauty in adoption. Two families coming together, to love a child and each other.

GOD IS FAITHFUL. 

5 years, 3 miscarriages, 3 surgeries, 2 failed infertility treatments, and 1 disrupted adoption.

And she’s here. Malina Anna Mays. Born on 2/2/21, in our arms just under a year since we started the adoption process.
And she’s absolutely perfect! 

We have been a family of three for two months now, and still can’t get over how perfect God’s plan and timing is. And how even during those days, months, and years we felt forgotten, He was there all along, orchestrating everything for our good and His glory.

“We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and persevere their souls.” – Hebrews 9:39

Monday, March 29, 2021

Adoption in the Calendar of Covid: Ryane and Joe's Adoption Story

 Adoption in the Calendar of Covid: Ryane and Joe's Adoption Story 

There are some people you meet and it feels like you have known them for so long! That was Ryane and Joe! The first time we chatted we talked about living in California, our kids, their heart for adoption and so much more. They were faith filled, had an open heart towards adoption, and was ready to come alongside an expecting mom and support her as much as they could. I watched them start their adoption journey and then maneuver through the first few months of Covid and traveling in the middle of the pandemic to meet their daughter. I know saying yes to adoption comes with so many unknowns, and let's be honest, in the middle of a pandemic feels even more uncertain at times. I would encourage you to read their words, be filled with purpose and joy, and start those conversations that will change your life. 

In Joe and Ryane's Words: 


It was December 2019 when we told our children we were thinking of expanding our family via adoption. The talk was a festive one and our youngest decided that this new baby was to be his most favored Christmas gift of all. 


By January 2020 we started working with the amazing Fallon of Christian Adoption Consultants. All of our new years resolutions focused on classes, paperwork, home study prep, more paperwork, lots of prayer, did I say paperwork and teaching our youngest the art of patience. He had already begun telling anyone who would listen that he was going to be a big brother to a new baby girl. You can imagine my shock when the kindergarten teacher confronted me in the school valet line to let us know our Noah had told all of his classmates that he was getting a new sister named Olivia. Explaining the heartbeat of adoption to your kids can be beautiful but hard non the less. 



We had always wanted to adopt but we never imagined the adventures of adoption in the calendar of covid. By March we were learning of the magnitude of this global pandemic. We immediately sat our sons down to explain that our adoption journey might be ending before it had even begun. With newly strained finances, home visits likely to be postponed and even taking family photos for a profile book all seeming impossible, we admittedly felt discouraged, but once again the faith of a child and their birth family restored our own. This time it was our then 12-year old who reminded us of a phrase we often say to him: nothing is impossible with God. 


So we forged ahead and with adoption related activities happening virtually we were able to complete the rest of our adoption requirements via zoom. A tripod, a few back yard photos and our remarkably gifted adoption consultant, also aided us in our best attempt at a profile book all in time for our first (and our last) adoption case to be sent our way. This incredible expecting mom saw something in our family and  said yes and suddenly our covid calendar included working out the logistics of coming alongside her despite being 2700 miles away. 



In October of 2020 our baby girl (named Olivia like her big brother chose) was born. We flew out a week early during the height of the pandemic. With an extended Nicu stay it was an additional 6 days before we got to see our daughter. All of the lessons we tried to teach our boys about patience and the promises of God were put to test during this trying season. In a hotel room adjacent to the hospital God reminded, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.” 


It is now a full year since our adoption in the calendar of covid began. Our daughter is 4 months old and that picture that our now first grader drew with his baby sister is colored and complete. He has also added her birth mom to the picture. We are forever grateful for the heart and bravery she has given that fortifies our daughter’s spirit. For many people 2020 was a year filled with trials and uncertainty “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” 


If you are thinking of adopting, even during a season where the entire world is fluctuating, hold on to your faith. Adoption is a messy, multi-layered experience, but at its core adoption is a story of love. We are inspired by the love of our birth mom, motivated by our love for our daughter, and we are thankful for the love extended to us by Fallon and the team at CAC. Our baby, now nicknamed “Liv,” nestled up to her brothers this Sunday morning, is a testament to God’s love for us all.



***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***



Monday, March 1, 2021

Meet Finola

- Meet Finola -

The adoption process is such a faith journey. It requires us to lean into Jesus in ways we might never have had in the past. It is a stretching, humbling, faith filled, messy and beautiful . When I first chatted with Jake and Natalie they had that faith that would carry them through all the emotions of their own story. With every not yet they responded with purpose and faith. It was that heartbeat that lead them to sweet Finola. Read their story and be encouraged.

In Jake and Natalie's Words:

It was not that long ago that I was sitting in the same position as some of you all — in a season of waiting. I would see other families who were chosen or my friends having littles of their own. While I was genuinely happy for them, I always wondered “will this ever be my story?” Friends, if you are in this season where it feels like all you are doing is waiting, know that I see you. 


Our story to parenthood began with the discovery that we were unable to have biological children. We spent months praying and processing our next steps and eventually felt the call to pursue adoption. Without a place to start, I went to the good ol’ instagram and I stumbled upon CAC.



Coincidentally, I learned later in the week that my brother’s friends were also pursuing adoption and using CAC. It felt like it was meant to be so we called and met Fallon. She explained the ins and outs of the adoption world to prepare us for the paperwork and process ahead. We were so excited to work with her and got started. After slogging through the paperwork we were officially approved in August 2019. We instantly started seeing cases. 


I had this hope that the process would be quick and easy but that’s not our story. We were approved in August 2019 and we were placed with our baby girl in September 2020. During that year we saw a lot of expecting parent's stories. We presented to some and others weren’t a fit for us. Yet, throughout it all we prayed for these individuals. In a year, we were able to pray for so many expecting mothers as they navigated making an adoption plan. It’s a big decision and we knew God needed to be part of the process. 


I won’t lie, the waiting was brutal at times and many tears were shed. I had moments of self-doubt. What if we are never picked and will we ever have a child? Each time we’d present we would pray and hope this was the one. Time and again it wasn’t. Being told you weren’t chosen is crushing after some tears, I would say that wasn’t a “no,” it was a “not yet.”  


I prayed and stayed hopeful that one day we would be chosen. And guess what? We were eventually chosen! Looking back over the year, I can see how God laid the plan for us and our baby girl. 


It was August 2020 as we answered a Facetime call from an expecting mother telling us that she chose us. We were chosen and we were ecstatic! This baby girl was due on October 2 so we started planning. We told our family and friends that the wait was over and we were so happy. Over a few weeks, we started building a relationship with the woman who chose us and got to know her. 


In mid-September, suddenly, there was a disruption. We. Were. Devastated. 



But, God had a bigger plan. We found out about the disruption on Wednesday and as I went to bed on Saturday night I felt at peace. I woke up the next morning to tell Jake that I felt we needed to pack. That night, the agency sent us a case of a baby girl whose mom had made an adoption plan but that the plan had failed. She was going into labor and would be seeing new family profiles. We prayed and decided to present with hopeful, yet guarded, hearts. 


24 hours later, we were on the phone, again, with the woman who would change out lives forever. She had chosen us. It was wild! We were going to be parents to this sweet baby girl, who was also originally due October 2, in the same state as the first mama who had chosen us. God had a plan all along. Friends, I’m here to say that the process might be hard but one day your waiting will be over. We are eternally grateful and humbled that this amazing woman saw something in us.


Finola Ariana was born on September 20, 2020. We waited a year to become parents. But in that waiting we were growing, praying, and loving on a multitude of expecting mothers whose cases passed through our hands. Adoption is messy, hard, beautiful and life altering — but I think I just summed up parenthood.



***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***



Monday, February 15, 2021

A yes right before Christmas-Tony and Erin's Adoption Story

 Erin and Tony's Adoption Story:

If you would have told me Erin and Tony's story when I first chatted with them on the phone I wouldn't have believed it! I remember first chatting with this amazing couple and their heart for adoption was so pure and beautiful. They wanted to adopt in the most ethical way, honoring all parts of the adoption triad as they took each step. Then they received a call about a 2 year old little girl who was in need of a forever family. It was a whirlwind right before Christmas and I can't wait for you to read their words and be encouraged by their story. 

In Erin and Tony's Words:

"4 years ago I couldn’t fathom what God had in store for our family. 4 years ago is when we decided to start trying for baby #2. Infertility was unfortunately part of our story. We struggled to conceive with our oldest daughter Charlie but by the grace of God we were able to conceive her naturally. We figured the journey would be long for the next...what we didn’t realize is how our infertility led to a place of surrender, unwavering trust, deeper connection to God and eventually adoption! During the waiting years I felt His nudges about adoption and I heard His no about pursuing infertility treatment, but our hearts needed time to mourn the fact that natural conception wouldn’t happen. Once we took that step in faith to fully pursue adoption, we never looked back! As soon as we said yes to the journey, a peace that only comes from Him followed.



We set up a call with Fallon through CAC and knew after that first chat on the phone this was who we wanted to work with. We quickly sign on and started the home study process in August of 2020 and moved at a rapid speed to get everything in and we were approved to adopt by October 2020. Fallon created our beautiful profile book and we got them sent off to agencies. Tony and I decided that we wanted to do a newborn/baby adoption....However, God had a different plan. 

 

We got registered with a few agencies and we were especially drawn to one in Utah. We had our conference call with them and had gathered that it would likely be awhile before we were presented any expecting mom's stories. In the meantime, cases started to come in from other agencies and as the holidays approached we were told that it would likely be pretty quiet until after the new year. 


 

The week after Thanksgiving we received a case from the UT agency for a 2.5 year old girl. The case came in while Tony was at work, so we didn’t have an opportunity to review it together. Upon reading it, I was so incredibly drawn to the little girl I was reading about, it was such a different feeling than the prior stories we had read. I couldn’t shake it. I shared her picture with Charlie and she said, “I would love to be her big sister.” I tried not to get overly excited because I remember Tony saying that he was only interested in adopting a baby. So I said a prayer and asked God to make it so clear if this child was meant for our family, and that His will be done. Tony got home from work and he had already reviewed this little girls story.  When I asked him what he thought, he said the moment he saw her picture he knew that was our baby girl! I burst into tears that we had the same feelings for this precious little girl. We let the agency know that we would be honored to be one of the families considered. This incredible  mom reviewed profiles the following morning and that afternoon we got a call that she wanted to have a conference call with us. My armpits never sweat so much in my life!!! We again, prayed and again surrendered the outcome over to the Lord, His will, not ours. On that call she told us that she wanted us to raise and love her little girl. She said that is was so clear that we were meant to be Daylee’s forever parents! She said the energy she felt while reading our profile book was indescribable and that she just knew we were who was meant to be Daylee’s mom and dad, and that she’d never been so sure about anything in her lifeWe learned that she had been on the hunt for the right family since shortly after Daylee was born, but she never felt right about any of the situations up unil this point. Our hearts were broken for her, we mourned with her, and knew we would keep our promise to have our hearts and lives open to her forever. Nothing can prepare you for being in a moment when another woman is trusting you with her most precious life...completing humbling, earth shattering, and heart changing in every way. 



We had the weekend to prepare the room and grab essentials, then we hopped on a plane the following Monday to go meet our baby girl, and were back home as a family of 4 before ChristmasThere were so many amazing confirmations along the way that Daylee was meant to be part of our family and that in the brokenness of adoption we would honor her mom and story! We learned during our conference call that Daylee’s middle names are Anthony Kay which happen to be family names! Tony’s formal name is Anthony and Kay is my mother-in-laws middle name! It was always our plan to give our  child a family name, and it just felt like a spacial moment. It’s been such an honor and a blessing to see how many lives were and continue to be touched by our adoption story. A great reminder of how God’s plan for us is always so much better than our own. A friend said it best, when it’s Gods will it blesses everyone! We now have been a family of 4 for 2 months and we can’t imagine life without our sweet Daylee. Thank you God for this incredible journey. Proverbs 3:5-6 "



It was such an incredible experience working with Fallon and CAC. I can now say from first hand experience that this organization is personable, believes in ethical adoption of the entire triad, and strives to make sure adoptive families are supported in such an unknown journey. From the many phone calls, the excitement Fallon shared with us, the support she happily gave, and the prayers along the way were so valuable. 



***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***




Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Becoming a Family of 4!

 Austin and Kylie's Story :

It was such an honor to walk with Kylie and Austin as they welcomed home their twin boys! I remember the first time we chatted and they had experienced a long season of infertility and they were ready to step into adoption with their entire hearts and put each foot in front of the other with faith. They quickly finished their home study, had CAC create their profile book, and became active with agencies. They prayed over each expecting mom's story they read and their hearts knew it was right when they read the mom's story that chose them. They were shocked when only 6 weeks after they were an active family they got a call saying she felt the same and wanted them to be her twin boys parents. It was beautiful to see how they lovingly walked with her as she made the hardest choice of her life. I know personally from experiencing infertility and adoption what this news feels like. Completely humbling and utterly grateful. I hope their words encourage you.


In Kylie and Austin's Words:

Adoption was not a second choice for us. Adoption is something that each of us individually hoped to pursue before we ever even met, and it’s a desire that we shared as a couple.  Although we went through a few years of trying to have biological child, which ended in heartbreak, we never gave up on that dream and hope we had about pursuing adoption. It was our dream to become parents and one day be able to pour out all of our love into a child...never in a million years thinking it would be two. We would talk about it all the time and eventually decided we needed to reach out and just talk to someone who has walked the journey we were praying about. After finding Christian Adoption Consultants we knew we wanted to set up a call and see if it would be the right fit for our family. We talked with Fallon and our hearts were at ease. We felt such a peace about having Fallon walk us through this journey and we signed on and got started. 


We diligently started working through out home study and leaning into all the education we could learn. We decided to have Fallon design our profile book and started writing the words that would be our hearts on the pages of that book. We poured over how she would feel reading it, would she feel invited into our lives? Would she see us authentically? We knew we wanted to be fully transparent and real with who we are and knew that the right expecting mom would find us when it was meant to be. After we received our final home study and printed our profile book we became active with ethical agencies around the US. 


We were at home one day when we received the story of a mom who would forever change our lives. We poured over her story and our hearts just connected with her so much. We wrote her a letter, put it in our family profile book, and sent it to the agency to share with her. We ultimately wanted her to find the family that brought her the most peace, whether that was us or not. Just a few days after seeing her story of this sweet mama (3 days after my birthday), my phone rang with a call from our case manager from the agency! My hands were shaking and my heart was beating out of my chest as we answered the phone. She chose us....US! Nothing can prepare you for a call like that, those words, that honor. Yet, we knew that this was her baby and until she wanted us to step in we were supporting her through her own journey. 


We wanted to guard our hearts as we got closer to this amazing mama's due date. We knew that she had every right to parent and that if she chose that path we would celebrate with her and love her through parenting. We slowly got 2 of everything together for when we got the call that we needed to get on a plane and fly out there to be with her. Traveling with two car seats, two sleeping beds, two of....well....everything! We spent those last few weeks as a family of 2 just keeping our hearts open to all that could come in that following month. When we finally got the call that it was time to fly out it felt like we were in a dream! Is this really happening? Is there a chance that we could become parents in just a few days? We got on a plane just 3 days after my birthday with all of our nerves and adrenaline running. 


We went to the hospital and got to be with the boys incredible and amazing mom! There are no words to even describe the love and respect we have for her. The depths of our hearts will forever be indebted to her and the absolute love she has for her boys. Those precious moments we got in the hospital will be a story just for the boys, but they are etched into our hearts forever. She welcomed Beau and Crew into the world weighing 5 lbs 15 ounces and 19 inches long, and 5lbs 14 ounces and 19.5 inches long. The to most perfect babies we have ever seen. 


We want to encourage you that adoption is not easy, it is messy, and hard, and mixed with beauty and incredible love. But.....it is beyond worth it. We wake up every single day with a heart overflowing for our boys birth mom and the choice she made to choose us. Just take each part of your journey as it comes, walk in faith and with hearts open and when that door opens step into it with grace and love. 

We are so thankful to CAC and for Fallon for all the encouragement, professional guidance, consistent support and authentic care she gave us in the middle of an emotional journey. We would recommend her and CAC over and over again. 



***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Applying for Adoption Grants and Fundraising!

Let me tell you...it's worth it! 


I had the absolute pleasure to come alongside Tessa and Ryan in their adoption journey. I remember one of our first conversations after they officially turned in their application to get started was about the best way to navigate and apply for grants. I remember when my husband and I were in our own personal adoption journey and the thought of where to even start felt overwhelming. Do we qualify? Does income matter? When are they awarded? Would we have a chance? Well, Tessa and Ryan took on applying for grants with purpose and was awarded over $20,000 for their adoption! Yes, you heard me right...$20,000!!! They felt so passionate about this process that they wanted to write their own approach and how they navigated applying for adoption grants and how worth it it really is. Take a look at their words and be encouraged. Don't let finances be the reason for not saying yes to that urge you have in your heart to start your own adoption journey. 

In Ryans and Tessa's Words:


Hello!


My name is Ryan and my wife and I have been clients of CAC for the past 18 months or so. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to be focusing on finances, specifically grants. We had always known, even before we got married, that we were going to adopt to grow our family and have children. Adoption had always been the plan, but our biggest hiccup was the finances. Looking at average costs and estimates, we knew we would never be able to save roughly $50,000 to pay for an adoption. We started looking into what we should do to help offset that cost and the main thing we found was fundraisers. 


From selling t-shirts to bake sales, to instagram auctions, literally anything can be a fundraiser. We started fundraising before we even knew what we were going to be doing as far as what approach to take or where to start. Once we signed on with CAC we thought that once we were clients there would be this amazing fundraising opportunity that we just simply hadn’t thought of, as if CAC had some secret fundraiser that nobody had ever heard of that would miraculously make us $20,000. Well I’m here to tell you that they do.


CAC has an amazing, vetted, list of grants that you can apply for (about 20 different ones, specifically). These grants are open to anyone, but I’ll tell you from my personal experience, it's not an easy undertaking to find adoption grants, so having a list is a life-saver. One of the first things we talked with our consultant, Fallon, about was the finances. She was very encouraging and kept reminding us that the Lord would provide, she told us to make sure we apply for the grants that they have on their list. She told us that a lot of adoption grants go unawarded, meaning that not enough people applied to receive all the money that they had at the ready to provide to families.They were a lot of work. I mean, like, a lot! The payoff? So worth it. 


So you're probably thinking to yourself “yeah Ryan, we’ve heard of adoption grants, but like, nobody actually gets those and they are so much work.”  I’m here to tell you that people do actually get these adoption grants. I’m also not going to lie to you and say that they aren’t really that much work. They are that much work. I spent many hours tirelessly applying for grants. If I am being honest, I hated it from the very beginning. But the payoff was massive. For the work I put in the payoff was $20,000! We received 4 different grants we applied for! We have already been funded about 40% of our total cost from grants alone! 


Now what does this mean for you, the reader. Well, my hope is that I have inspired you to actually take the time and effort to apply for grants. If I have not inspired you, you can stop reading this post. If I have inspired you, which I hope I have, keep reading.


Our system:


My wonderful wife, Tessa, had been spear heading our fundraising from the very beginning and she was amazing at it. Organizing community garage sales, finding t-shirt fundraisers, and 3 separate auctions we did on instagram, just to name a few (follow us @bringbabyRV2home). I had promised her (without realizing how much work it would be) that if she was in charge of fundraising, I would be in charge of applying for grants. 


Now grant applications are a bit different, the first thing you want to do is make sure the application is actually going to be worth your time. You do not want to spend hours on an application for a grant that has a $25 application fee, if the grant is only for $250. This piece of advice came directly from Fallon, our consultant. She also told us to make sure that you qualify for the grant that you are looking to apply for. Most grants require that you be working with a non profit adoption agency (specifically with 501c3 status).  Many agencies on CAC’s agency list are.  What I did for all of our grant applications was save every single piece of information that was requested in a google drive. It took about 8 hours to complete the first application. I had to gather every piece of documentation they were wanting from every legal document I had ever had. Scans of drivers licenses, social security cards, bank statements, a print out of our credit reports, we had to know every tidbit of our expenses, broken down weekly, monthly, yearly (depending on the application). Each of these grant applications ask several adoption and/or faith based questions regarding how and why you are adopting, and what your faith looks like. Some of the applications only had 3-5 questions, while others had 25-30. Almost all of these questions were repeated on each application. So in saving every piece of documentation we needed, we saved every single question and answer on every single application, and were able to copy and paste the answers back and forth for each new application.


So I mentioned that the first application took about 8 hours, the more grants I applied for the easier it got. Fallon had advised us to start with the longest grant and in doing that it allowed us to have what we needed for the other grants. One little caveat about grants, however. You have to be in this middle stage of having your home study complete, and not having your adoption finalized. So depending on how quickly you get matched and placed with a baby, this might not leave you much time to apply for grants. We got really lucky (I like to think) because we had our home study completed by February of 2020, and were matched by April of 2020. This was lucky for a number of reasons, but for grants it gave us plenty of time to keep applying because our birth mama wasn’t due until October of 2020. I gave myself the goal of applying for 1 grant a week, knowing that we had ~28 weeks to keep applying.


My advice? Just don’t give up. With everything adoption related there is a literal mountain of paperwork and thousands of reasons to give up. But keep your head up and keep applying! The Lord truly will provide. 




***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***

Monday, September 14, 2020

Kevin and Rebecca's Whirlwind Adoption Story

You know those people you chat with for the first time and you feel like you have always known them? Enter Kevin and Rebecca! Coming alongside this sweet couple and watching them walk into parenthood for the first time was such a joy. They lead their own story with such heart, always putting their trust in God, and valuing ethics over everything. Their story was such a fast whirlwind and every call, text, and message that I received as they left their state in an instant to go meet the woman who would trust them with the forever was beautiful. I hope their story encourages your heart today! Read their story below:


In Rebecca and Kevin's Words  

We began our adoption journey after years of infertility battles. We were defeated and lost and knew we wanted to be parents, but moving forward after so many lows felt so hard. We prayed about adoption, and after a long season of really making sure we were ready to say yes we started to reach out to local agencies. We have many family members that have been adopted in our lives so we knew we could love a child without hesitation, we just couldn’t see us really being happy with a truly open adoption. But gosh, did God have other plans and did our hearts radically change!  In a matter of a few months, He changed our hearts into truly desiring an open adoption above all else. We knew the more our child would have connection to his biological family the healthier it would be for everyone. How could we be followers of an all-loving Christ and not want an open adoption?! Hard questions were asked, and God answered in beautiful ways. When we were mourning the loss of our “own child” (which now I know our own child is any child we have the honor of raising),  God clearly explained to me that no one makes their own children, God does. And that hits home every single day in our adoption. We prayed for His timeline, for His plan, and He delivered. Everything was so quick, but yet so perfectly in place we can’t deny that this truly is God’s plan for us and our family. We reached out to CAC and had a chance to chat with Fallon about what an adoption journey would look like. We felt so at peace, connected with her so quickly, and knew this was the perfect partner for us! 


We quickly signed up, went through the adoption education and home study, and became an active and waiting family. We had a handful of adoption cases that we didn’t present to, praying over each one and listening to His guidance. Our heart with each profile was to really match with the expecting mom, to want to have a relationship with her behind the baby she brings. Then we received an expecting mom's story that we just knew it our hearts we wanted to say yes to knowing we were fully ready to come alongside this mom if she felt it was right for her.  It was the first and only profile we said yes to, nervously waiting a week to hear back from the agency on her choice. 





She chose us! It’s the most incredibly humbling experience to be chosen. We got the official call on June 30th and baby’s due date was July 2nd. We rushed down to their state, and the most beautiful perfect baby boy was born July 7th. The relationship we have with his birth family grows by the day, the love his birth mom has for him is inspiring. I count it such a blessing to know her. 


God knows what your family needs. He knows your hearts, and has your miracle waiting for you already. Waiting is what let’s us grow and gain God’s wisdom for our lives. The hardest thing we ever did was not going through the process of adoption, it was waiting for our baby. Once we held him in our arms we felt like we were holding a miracle. Trust in our Lord. He will never fail you. 




Working with Fallon has been a true joy. Her and I got along so well and connected like good friends over our many phone calls and emails and voice messages and texts. I am an over-communicator, an ‘I have a million questions for you’ type of person, and Fallon never let me down in her timeframe of response, or her constant encouragement and wisdom. When we were feeling the unknown, Fallon reminded us that God’s got it, and that her and CAC were here for us the whole way. Her excitement for us when we matched our tears in our eyes, it was so genuine. She walked us through the entire process, over a holiday weekend even! I definitely recommend working with Fallon, and Christian Adoption Consultants any day!”

- Rebecca & Kevin 


***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me, Fallon Palacios, at   Fallon@christianadoptionconsultant.com and check out www.christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information!! ***