As you've probably noticed, I've changed the header of the blog to this:
Jake and I changed our facebook cover picture to this too. It's that time of year again to begin our adoption homestudy updates. This time of year (this is the 4th update we've done for adoption #2) always causes me to take a little more time than usual to investigate the world of adoption and see what other options we may have. The results of my research? We're still looking at at least $25k with any other agency that will have us (some will not accept us because we're mormon). According to the agencies' past data, we could probably get a newborn within 14 months for that amount. Unfortunately, most of the agencies I've seen require a substantial amount of money up front (the one closest to us is $11k up front. The ones that don't require as much up front seem to have higher fees overall. Plus most agencies require us to pay the potential birthmother's living expenses before the child is born. If she changes her mind and keeps the baby (which she of course has every right to do) we're out that money. We don't mind paying her expenses upon placement of the child but we really just can't afford to spend thousands of dollars up front that may not result in an adoption. It doesn't feel right to us. So, for the time being, we'll stick to what we're doing. We'll keep telling everyone we know that we're searching for a child to adopt. We also plan to be proactive this year in working with the state foster care system to try to find a child or sibling group to adopt. We're looking for a child or 2 children younger than Gavin (soon to be 5!). So far I have not received a response to my 3 inquiries to the state of Georgia on this matter. However, when I called Florida someone actually answered the phone and was able to answer my questions, so that's a start. I have a tendency to want to adopt every child I see on the online state databases (I can handle a sibling group of 6 kids ages 1-17, sure!) so I will definitely have to temper myself there. After spending numerous hours researching this all, Saturday I decided to start praying a little differently. I told God that we have a desire to adopt again, and if it is not gonna happen to please take that desire away from us. And if we are to adopt to please guide us asap. Sunday I decided to update our online profile - the pictures, their captions, and our "dear birthmother" letter. It just flowed. I knew what pictures to choose, what to say about them, and what to write in our letter. Jake was a part of this too - I asked him what he thought about various issues and incorporated his response (and the part he wrote was left mostly unchanged from the original letter written 3 years ago). Here is the updated version (to view the whole profile click the link on the right side of the page):
1. We’re honest and open. Our life is an open book, ask anything. We keep a family blog (jakeandkellysworld.blogspot.com) where you can see what we’ve been up to the last 5 years or so. It’s updated at least a few times a month, so you will always be able keep up with our latest happenings. Kelly started it as a way for our son Gavin’s birth mom to always be able to keep in touch, along with all our family and friends. We would also be happy to have continued contact with you and your family by phone, e-mail, and in-person visits if an adoption were to occur.
2. We’re not perfect, and don’t pretend to be. We do our best to live our lives the way God would want us to. We do not judge you or any past actions you have taken.
3. We love our son more than words can express. He is adopted. Kelly is infertile. It turns out that’s a good thing - because of it Gavin joined our family. We love him just as he is, and would not change a hair on his head. We will feel this way about the next child we adopt too.
4. Kelly is a (mostly) stay at home mom, and plans to always be. She works as an occupational therapy assistant 1-3 days a month - on days Jake is home to watch Gavin. She works at a rehabilitation hospital helping restore independence to those who have had strokes, heart attacks, been in car accidents, etc. She likes her work outside the home, but loves her work inside the home.
5. Jake is a good provider with a steady job. He works for the Georgia Air National Guard as an avionics technician, repairing electronics on military planes. He has been in this career field for 16 years, and doesn’t plan on changing jobs anytime soon. He likes that Kelly is a stay at home mom because it allows him to do his job without worrying at all about Gavin.
6. We have a nice home, located just outside of our town. It is in a very safe area with good schools.
7. We’ve been married 13 years. We met on the beach. If you have time we’d love to tell you that story.
Now let us tell you a little more about ourselves:
Kelly is a caring, responsible person who tries to always do what’s right and make sure everything runs smoothly. She plans out the best vacations, making sure that we do things we all enjoy. She also does a great job throwing dinner parties where we have fun with our friends. Kelly is a great homemaker and cook. She has decorated our house with carefully selected artwork and pictures of Gavin and our family, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I really appreciate that she cooks healthy meals for us but what I enjoy most is when she makes desserts like fried ice cream and apple crisp. Kelly is an excellent mom because she has the ability to teach children with kindness in a way they can relate to and understand. She has a way of patiently calming Gavin down when he gets upset that I really admire. She is great at teaching Gavin new things throughout the day, and he gets so excited when he learns a new game or gets to help Mommy out in the kitchen.
Jake is the type of person that everyone immediately likes. He is kind, laid-back, and has a great sense of humor. Jake is a lot of fun to be around. He enjoys spontaneously doing what he calls “adventuring.” This can involve trying out a new theme park, hiking an uncharted trail, or attempting to make a new short cut when driving. Sometimes we get lost for a little while but it’s always fun to see new places we haven’t been before! Jake is also creative and mechanically inclined. To go along with his hobby of playing video games Jake built a working arcade machine for our house. Jake is a great dad and Gavin adores him – his face lights up every time Jake enters the room. Jake loves to get down on the floor and play with Gavin, everything from racing cars to wrestling. When it comes to discipline Jake is firm yet loving. He even treats our dog, Tyler, this way. When Tyler misbehaves, Jake likes to try to sit him down and explain what he did wrong for punishment!
We adopted Gavin in October 2008 when he was 8 months old. We love him so much, and really enjoy spending time with him. He smiles and laughs more than any other child we’ve ever met. Lately he’s been making up jokes. His favorite one is: “Why’d the pig go in the woods? ‘Cause he wants too!” After he tells it he laughs and laughs. His favorite activities include digging in the dirt, swimming, building with legos, and playing with transformers. He is very outgoing and likes being around other kids. He will be a good big brother because he is very empathetic. If he sees another child crying he always wants to know why and will try to comfort him or her.
We try to provide a peaceful, calm, and loving environment in our home for Gavin to learn and grow. Our children will know that we love them unconditionally, and that they can always come to us for help in any situation. Kelly shares her love of reading with Gavin, and looks forward to doing this with all our children. She loves reading him fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Jake looks forward to sharing his love of the outdoors, as he does with Gavin. He plans to take our children bike riding, fishing, and hiking. And nothing beats a trip to the park with Daddy! We will also share our love of the beach with our children, with visits to the Florida beach where we met to build sandcastles and play in the water. We plan on taking lots of vacations with our children, but also look forward to time spent at home as a family playing games at the kitchen table, laughing, and having fun. Grandma and Grandpa will be there too! Both sets of our parents eagerly look forward to our adopting another child and plan to visit often. Large family get-togethers were common for both of us growing up and we plan to carry on this tradition with our children.
Thanks for taking the time to read our letter. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have. We pray that you will be lead to a decision that will bring you peace in your life.
Jake and Kelly
(We could have said a lot more but we're limited to 6000 characters including spaces -I think we went over a little but couldn't cut anything else)