Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Shop for Us!

Hey, friends!! The Christmas shopping season is almost here...I absolutely cannot believe this year has gone by  SO INCREDIBLY FAST!! It's been quite the year.  November 1 - January 1 is my favorite time of year...gearing up for Thanksgiving celebrations, quality time with family, no school for a week, and then whipping right into the Christmas season with hot chocolate, snowmen, Christmas trees, Christmas carols and best of all, remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ.

This year, while you're shopping online for Black Friday and Cyber-Monday deals - and throughout 2014! - you can shop through a couple of links to the right of my blog and a portion of your purchases goes back into our adoption fund...A WIN/WIN!!

I think most of us are familiar with the amazing deals through Amazon for just about any product you can think of, so if you click on the Amazon button to the right, you'll be immediately shopping under our Amazon Associates heading...and then you simply shop as normal!  We get email alerts letting us know that purchases have been made and how much has been added to our account!

I only recently learned of the PureCharity organization a few months ago.  When you create an account with PureCharity (totally FREE!) and install their plug-in to your browser (free and easy!), it will show up anytime you shop online through a PureCharity supported store.  The logo will simply appear in the top right corner of your screen, it looks like this... click on it, it reloads the page and you shop! A portion of your purchases go back into your account and you can pick what charity, organization, or family you wish to support.  There are TONS of great organizations to choose from, but we would be especially honored if you chose our family! You simply find us on there through their search button or come here and click on our button to go straight to our page! Then you choose our family to send your donation to.  All donations are sent directly to our adoption agency, Lifeline Children Services.  Pure Charity works with a lot of major retailers such as Apple, Target, Wal-Mart, Priceline, Gap, Forever 21, Pier 1, Bass Pro, Babies R Us...oh my goodness, just looking through the list makes me so excited! It even has a "shop local" option so you can help support local businesses in your area and our adoption at the same time!!

These are simple and great ways to make the most of your Christmas shopping this year!! We are praying hard that this will be the last year we spend Christmas without our son! Your purchases through our links will help to cover our travel costs to Colombia and our time spent there on things like hotel accommodations for 6-8 weeks, food, translators, in-country attorneys and paperwork, and our flights HOME!!

These links will be available on my blog until our adoption is funded, so please come back through here to shop Amazon or chose us through Pure Charity for any and all online shopping!

Please share this link with your friends and family to help us spread the word about these great ways to support our adoption during the holiday season.  You can share by clicking any of the social media buttons at the bottom of this post or sharing my link from Facebook.  
If you share it, shoot me an email at
jmalcoleman at gmail dot com or 
a Facebook message or
comment here or
comment on my Facebook post
and on December 3 (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) I'll pick a winner for a $10 iTunes gift card!
(Please be sure and leave an email address or a way to contact you if you win)

Happy Shopping!!

PS - We will also be starting an Apparent Project soon as they come in the mail.  I canNOT wait to tell you more about this amazing ministry that helps sustain families in Haiti, preventing children from becoming orphans, and also helps adoptive families!  More to come next week!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When It's Really Hard - Part 2

As I was reading back over my post from last night, I realized I just kind quit writing.  When I started out, I had no idea how long or how much I would write...I was just gonna do it until I couldn't do it anymore.  If you missed out on last night's post, you can read it here.

I ended up talking to Beth, our social worker, that afternoon for a long time.  It was more like I sobbed, she listened.  I tried to talk, she encouraged me.  I'm not sure I've ever felt that pain before.  Jacob and I were talking about it a few days later and I asked him if he thought it hurt the way it did when we lost our first baby.  He said hurt worse than that.  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I agreed.  

The next morning, after our heartbreaking news, I received an e-mail alert from a waiting kids website that I follow.  I rarely check the alerts, but that day I did.  As soon as the window popped up on my computer screen....I saw him.  Again.  I couldn't figure out what was going on.  "V" was not available for adoption, but here he was...waiting for a family.  I immediately emailed the listing agency on the website and called Beth.  She promised that she would talk with Raul (our in country attorney), but she told me it was most likely that his file had not been removed yet.  That did end up being the case, but I could NOT let it go without at least asking.

That week was stinkin' hard.  It hurt.  It made me mad.  I went for a run one morning to try to deal with it all. I needed to figure out who I was mad at.  God? The Colombian official who'd mistakenly sent his file in the first place? The website for getting my hopes up again?  Then it hit me - I was mad at the whole dang situation.  I was mad because a precious 2 year old little boy should NOT have to look further than his front door for a family.  I was made because that precious little boy should never have been an orphan.  I was mad that there was even a need for adoption because it's NOT FAIR that every child cannot grow up and live with their birth family because in a perfect world, that's how it would be.  So I was not mad at anyone...I was mad because there are kids without families.

Even though I hadn't held this little boy in my arms and I had only seen his picture, I could so strongly imagine what it would be like to hold him.  He was about Creek's size.  And he kinda looked like Creek, too :)  I would pick Creek up and hold him or rock him at night and think, "Wow....this is what it's going to feel like.  This is the size and age of "V"."  Yes, they are two different kids but I could absolutely imagine what it would be like to play, hold, rock, and love on "V" the same way I was doing with Creek.

I cried a lot that week.  Jacob and I talked a lot and grieved together.  Finally, at the end of the week I had to force myself to move on.  I had to delete everything I had on sweet little "V".  It wasn't fair to him or to his new family for me to have such private information on him or to dwell over his adorable face.  It wasn't good for my heart, either.  Over the next few weeks, he would come to mind from time to time.  Sometimes I would think about the heartache and cry a little, but I would also rejoice that he has a family...that his days without them are limited.

And then Monday of this week, I got another email alert from the same waiting kids website.  My heart hit the floor when I, again, saw his sweet face.  He had been taken down after my last email...I had checked every day until he was gone.  But here he was again.  In times like this, there's no such thing as "guarding your heart".  Because you can't look at a child and say, "Yes, I want to be your mommy!" and not immediately begin to love him as your his mommy.  In an instant, there was a bit of hope that he would still be mine.  It was just as fierce as it had been a few weeks ago.

Long story short...we emailed them, again, and had our adoption agency check into the situation.  We got a sincere reply from the website telling us they weren't sure what happened, but no - he wasn't available for adoption...his picture and file should not have been added back to the site.

And our hearts crashed again.

I don't want anyone who is considering adoption to think that it's easy. Or to think that it's only about paperwork, fingerprints, and interviews with social workers.  Or that it's a walk in the park.  Because it's none of those things.  It is REALLY HARD.  We lay our hearts out there for a timeline that doesn't really exist.  We know it could get trampled on a hundred times over.  We don't like it, but it is what it is.  And you know what - I'd go through this every single week of this entire journey if that is what it takes to get to my son.  Because here's what I think...I think that as hard as this is on me, and my heart...


I have a family and friends and a community that love me and that I am thriving in. I have my Jesus who defeated death for me and loves me unconditionally. I know where my next meal will come from and I grew up being tucked in every single night by a mom and dad whose world revolved around me and my sisters.  That is the kind of life we are giving our children.  So if it's this hard on me, with all that I have - how hard is it on a child who doesn't understand the world that he's in? Who has to wonder if there is more to his life than being grouped together with a bunch of other kids his age and living in a concrete building?

Yes, it's hard on adoptive parents.  And so many times I've heard people say - "I couldn't do it, I couldn't risk getting my heart broken." Or something along those lines.  But guess heart's been broken - as have countless other adoptive parents - and those hearts healed and yours will, too.  But what about the little girls and boys who go to bed every single night with a broken heart...they sure didn't choose to be an orphan, to be alone.  What about their broken hearts?  Who goes after them?

What if God had the same thought when He put His great plan into motion to send Jesus - His ONLY Son - for you and me?  What if He decided He just couldn't risk getting His heart broken?  Well, His heart does get broken every time someone denies Him, turns away from Him, refuses Him...and yet, He'd do it every second of every minute of every hour of every single day if that is what it took...

So how did we cope with this?  We held tight to each other and trusted in God and His plan.  I kept on singing "It Is Well With My Soul" - and sometimes I believed it.  I had friends checking on me, letting me talk through it.  I remembered my friends Daniel and Emily and how their hearts had broken, and yet God carried them through and has pieced a beautifully amazing family together.  I read in Isaiah over and over that God's "thoughts are not my thoughts" and that His ways are higher than mine.  I asked Him to use me and my heartbreak in order to comfort others who share this experience.  I asked Him to help me see what we could learn from this.  And He answered that prayer.  We grew and trusted more and learned.  For that, I am very thankful.

God took such good care of us....even people we hadn't shared this with, would call or text and say, "Hey...I was thinking about you.  Are you okay?"  He provided a dear friend, a foster mom, who took me into her arms within an hour of receiving our heartbreaking news and she just held me tight.  She knew and understood my pain and she acknowledged my grief. Even this morning, He sent the perfect words to me through my SIL, Bekah..."Only He can make it right.  But it won't be right until Christ comes again.  Until then...we just have to hold on for dear life." And so that's what we will do...we will hold on for dear life and we will rest in the fact that God is taking care of us.

Thank you, friends, for letting me talk it out here on my blog.  It's part of my process.  We know that so many of you are praying us through this journey and have been very encouraging to us the entire time.  If you think of us and want to pray for us about these past few weeks...please also rejoice with us for sweet little "V" and for his family who is working hard to get to him.  Please pray the rest of their process would go smoothly and that everything would fall into place.  Pray that he would transition well into his new family and home.  I sure hope that someday, somehow...maybe in a way that only God can orchestrate...he knows that at one point in his life - after 2 years without a mommy - that for just a few days, he had two mommy hearts that loved him to the fullest.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Adoption...When It's Really Hard (Part 1)

First things sorry for such a lapse in updating you guys.  It's not that we haven't been super busy with the adoption, it was just that not a lot happened for a few weeks to update about....just waiting on paperwork to go through so we could submit our dossier.  Then, suddenly - it was time for a major update. I've promised this whole time to be transparent with you about our adoption and I have kept my word.  So far, there have been a few twists and turns to our journey - but nothing majorly hard.  Nothing to make my heart want to crumble under the weight of it all.  But the truth about adoption is that it's not always warm fuzzies...sometimes it just plain sucks.  And sometimes it's worse than that.

On September 27 - a Friday night - my phone rang around 6 pm.  Since I was in the middle of cooking supper and my kids were going crazy (and Jacob was at work), I planned to take a quick glance at the caller ID and keep at the tasks at hand.  But there it said "Lifeline".  That's our adoption agency.  That's my social worker.  She's calling me after hours...on a Friday night.  It's either really good or really bad.  And it's too soon for this to be really good.  So it must be really bad, right? I finally stopped the inner dialogue and picked up the stupid phone.

I can truly barely hear our social worker, Beth, over the pounding in my heart - and the screaming squeals of joy coming from the smalls - when she tells me she has a file of a 2 year old little boy who seems just perfect for I want her to send it to me? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY! She walks me through the steps to download "Dropbox" and then all of a sudden, there's the file.  I pull it up and I scroll as fast as I can to the first picture.

And there he is...this beautiful, precious, so adorable that he has to be mine little boy..."V".  She gives me the quick rundown of his file and explains the next steps should we pursue to adopt him.  As much as I love talking to Beth, I don't think I could get off of the phone quick enough so I could pour over his file.  She gave me her cell and promised me that it was okay to call her with any questions at all or to talk about anything regarding this little boy over the weekend...that's another reason why she's the best.

I immediately called Jacob.  We were both floored.  We had no idea this would happen so quickly.  The excitement was building.  The love was exploding.  I gave him the shorter rundown of what Beth had told me and tried to send him a picture of "V" - poor Jacob...his cell isn't exactly this decade, but he rarely complains.  He couldn't see the picture - so he was going to have to wait until he got home at 6:30 in the morning.

All night, I translated his file in Google translate...did I mention this 70+ page file was in Spanish? And that I don't read Spanish? Did I mention my eyes were crossed and my head was pounding after 4 hours of copy/paste/translate/read/repeat?  Or that I didn't care how long I had to stay up to learn as much as I could about the little boy who I believed with every passing minute was going to be my son?

Y'all....this sweet, little boy.  So innocent.  So precious.  The brownest eyes.  The cutest smile. The darkest hair.  And so much to process about the things he had been through in his life and the events that led to him needing a new mommy and daddy.  My heart could not help but to start processing and protecting this child I had never held.

As soon as Jacob got home the following morning, I showed him "V"'s picture.  The look in his eyes...I've only seen it 3 other times - the first time those eyes landed on Anna Beth, Lynnsie, and Creek.  I knew in that moment that we were going to pursue this little boy.

Jacob tried to sleep that day (after working all night), yet he couldn't.  He tossed and turned. He got up.  He laid back down.  I tried to stay busy, but really - nothing could take my heart away from "V".  It would just hit me that I had most likely met my son.  The one I'd prayed for and longed for and ached for and filled out a small forests worth of paperwork for over the last 7 months.  I had texted a few friends and our parents, so they could pray with us.  One friend, Mary, said - "Wow...finally...the little boy we've prayed for!"

Finally, Jacob gave up on sleep and said let's talk about "V". Um...okay! Then he basically said, "It's him.  This is our son.  What do we do now?" And just like that - it felt like our family was on the way to being completed.  I immediately called Beth - who was ecstatic - and then typed up our Letter of Intent to send to Colombia's central authority.  The LOI tells them that you intend to adopt a certain child once your dossier is approved.

I couldn't believe it, y'all.  We finally knew him.  My mommy heart immediately grew as I began to take on all of his life experiences and grieve for him and with him what he had been through.  I vowed in my heart that he would NEVER experience those things again.  He was no longer an orphan.  He was my son and I was on my way to get him.

It'd be so awesome if right now I could share a picture of him with you.  It'd be so awesome if the update only got better from here.

But, like I said above, sometimes adoption just plain sucks.  In fact, I'd argue that most of adoption sucks - but that's an entirely different post.  Anyway....

A few days later, Beth calls me back.  I knew that she had to double check his file to make sure our LOI was the first one submitted, but we really weren't worried about that being a problem.  But I could tell in her voice as soon as I answered.  I could hear the sadness and the dread in what she was about to have to tell me.

We could not adopt "V".  Colombia should have never sent her his file.  It's really, really great for "V" because he was actually already being adopted by another family.  Beth wasn't really sure where the mistake came in, but his file should have been locked because he already had a family coming for him.  Pure joy and excitement for him.  Total heartbreak for us...

Next post, I'll write about what we felt and went through, how we processed everything over the next few days.  It's taken me a long time to write this hurts.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to burst into tears right now or that the pain didn't come back as I revisited this experience.  It hurt.  It still does.  It probably will for a while.