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IAG 040: What birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families (PART 2) with Libby Denniston of Lifetime Adoption

Posted on 29. Dec, 2015 by .

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“Expectant women want to learn about the parents who are waiting to adopt right away. They don’t want to wait until they’ve decided “yes, I want to choose adoption” – and then look for families.”
–Libby Denniston

One of the biggest obstacles for hopeful adoptive parents is to figure our what birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families. How do you create a book, a website, and a video that shows how unique you are and how excited you are to adopt? 

What is most important to expectant mothers who are trying to choose a family with whom to place their child?

This episode is part 2 of our chat with Libby Denniston, the Outreach Coordinator for Lifetime Adoption Center – which has been dedicated to bringing couples and birthparents together since 1986.

Libby has been working directly with hopeful adoptive families and birthparents for many years. She is so compassionate towards birthmoms and hopeful adoptive families.

She has a keen eye and ear for helping families create amazing adoption profiles. She loves offering guidance and support for expectant women who are considering adoption for their child.

Libby is an extra special guest for me personally, because she has been a vital part of our journey to build our family through adoption.

Here’s a picture my wife and I love because it is when we went to visit Libby and the Lifetime staff in California, who had just helped us adopt our baby daughter, who was not quite 2 weeks old.Libby holding Arianna at Lifetime

I’m excited to have her share her wisdom, her heart, and her adoption knowledge. 

We had such a great discussion, that I decided to make it into two episodes. So this is part 2. I hope you take time to go listen to part 1 in episode 39.

This episode will help you understand birthmoms better – and you’ll learn how you can connect with them faster and easier.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why creating an adoption profile video will help you connect with a prospective birthmom.
  • Libby’s tips for making a profile that stands out to expectant women who are considering adoption.
  • What expectant women look for BEFORE they choose an adoption plan.
  • How the internet is changing domestic infant adoption and what you can do to connect faster with prospective birthmoms.
  • What you may be doing to stunt your adoption journey and your search to connect with a prospective birthmother.
  • Hear some amazing stories about the families who have received help and support from Libby and the staff at Lifetime Adoption.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

AdoptionProfileVideosMadeEasyLOGO
Find out how to make your own Adoption Profile Video!

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IAG 039: What birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families (PART 1) with Libby Denniston of Lifetime Adoption

Posted on 03. Dec, 2015 by .

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“Hopeful adoptive parents need to remember – you could be why an expectant mother chooses adoption for her child. You could be the #1 reason that makes a woman go from saying: I’m not sure about adoption – to say – I can make an adoption happen with people like this. You are going to be an answer for that woman.”
–Libby Denniston

Sometimes it’s difficult for hopeful adoptive parents to really understand birthmoms and women who are considering adoption for their baby. It can be a struggle to figure out how to make a great profile that will touch the heart of an expectant woman.

If you are anything like me and my wife, we struggled with figuring out exactly what open adoption means. 

Our guest on this episode is Libby Denniston – who is the Outreach Coordinator for Lifetime Adoption Center – which has been dedicated to bringing couples and birthparents together since 1986. Libby has been working directly with hopeful adoptive families and birthparents for many years.

She has an amazing heart for all those involved in adoption. She helps families reflect themselves through their adoption profiles and she loves meeting with birthmoms and offering them support.

Another thing you need to know about Libby is that she is the adoption webinar queen – as she hosts Lifetime’s awesome free webinar series at AdoptionTeleconference.com, were they share adoption success stories, have Q & A sessions, and discuss other informational adoption topics.

Libby is an extra special guest for me personally, because she has helped my wife and I through many ups and downs throughout our quest to become parents.

Here’s a picture we treasure because it is when we went to visit Libby and the Lifetime staff in California. Libby is holding our baby daughter, who was not quite 2 weeks old.Libby holding Arianna at Lifetime

Libby is a trusted mentor for us on our journey, so I’m excited to have her share her wisdom, her heart, and her adoption knowledge. 

We had such a great discussion, that I decided to make it into two episodes. So this is part 1 of 2. After you’ve listened to part 1, I invite you to listen to part 2 – the last half of our discussion.

My hope is this episode will help you understand birthmoms better – and you learn what they are hoping to find in adoptive parents.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What Lifetime Adoption Center does – and how they help adoptive families and birthmoms.
  • Libby’s tips for understanding birthmoms and expectant women who are considering adoption.
  • What expectant women look for BEFORE they choose an adoption plan.
  • Insight about what open adoption looks like from all perspectives.
  • What hopeful adoptive families need to know about birthmoms.
  • Hear some amazing stories about the birthmoms who have received help and support from Libby and the staff at Lifetime Adoption.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

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IAG 038: How to build your adoption team (and why you need to) with Rebecca Gruenspan

Posted on 29. Sep, 2015 by .

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“You can be the strongest person on your team by staying positive, leading with an open mind and an open heart, and putting trust in your team and in the process. Without it, you will get in your own way. With it, magic will happen.”
–Rebecca Gruenspan

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision or goal. When it comes to adoption, we know the “common goal” is reach the dream of becoming parents. On your journey to adopt, building your adoption team is an important part of your success. IAG 038 Building your adoption team with Rebecca Gruenspan

You may already know about adoption agencies and attorneys. You probably know that you’ll need to hire someone to complete the required homestudy before a baby can be placed with you.

What you may not know is there are many others you need on your adoption team. Some of them you may not have thought about before. 

So, how do you build your adoption team? Who should be on your team? And why do you need one?

To get the answers to these questions, we talk with Rebecca (aka Becca) Gruenspan, an adoptive mom and the Founder of RG Adoption Consulting. She works with hopeful adoptive parents to educate, guide and be a hand to hold through the domestic adoption process. She also has years of experience as a therapist, fundraiser, event planner, presenter and mentor.

You can learn more about Becca and her consulting services at www.rgadoptionconsulting.com.

My hope is this episode will inspire you to build your adoption team so you can quickly reach your dream of building a family through domestic infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Who you should have on your adoption team.
  • Why you should have a team in the first place.
  • What is an adoption consultant and what can they do for you.
  • Find out what the #1 answer adoption agencies give when Becca asks them ‘what makes the best adoptive families?’
  • Learn the 4 modules (education, adoption profile, adoption sources, and support) that Becca teaches all of her clients about adoption.
  • Find out how Becca will give you a 10% discount on her services just by mentioning the IAG podcast!
    AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

  • RGadoptionconsulting.com – this is Becca’s consulting business where she can help hold your hand throughout the domestic infant adoption journey. She will do a free phone consultation as well.
  • Becca’s Facebook Page – where she shares even more great adoption resources, inspiration, quotes, ideas, thoughts, etc.
  • Becca’s Blog – read her adoption story and get great advice for your journey to adopt.
  • InfantAdoptionGuide.com/iTunes – If you like the show, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes. Thanks! 
  • InfantAdoptionGuide.com/welcome – get my 4 FREE adoption ebooks to help you on the adoption journey!

Join Facebook support groups: 

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The 3 Most Important Elements of a Great Adoption Profile

Posted on 09. Sep, 2015 by .

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The following is a guest post from our friend Deb Slater at AdoptionProfilesByDesign.com. She graciously shares with us the 3 most important elements of a great adoption profile. Be sure to check out her site and see the profile services she offers. Enjoy!

I’ve been a graphic designer for more than 25 years now, but I’ve never enjoyed anything as much as helping adoptive families develop their profiles. It might be that I’m also an adoptive parent, but I think it’s really that I get to facilitate, on a daily basis, acts of pure love.IAG blog 3 Most important elements of a great adoption profile

This is what I know so far: Whenever a profile accurately captures the appeal of your family and the love you have for the birthparents and their child, it is the best that it can be. Toward that end, these are the three most important elements of a great adoption profile:

• Your words (as opposed to someone else’s)
• Your pictures (a great mix of posed and candids — mostly candids)
• Your style (the graphic elements that express who you are)

Your Words
At Adoption Profiles by Design, we do not write copy. We’ll assist in correcting grammatical errors, but a great profile requires your spontaneous words. Simply describe who you are and how you live.

We make this even easier by providing sections that break your story into clearly readable parts. We also value highlighting certain parts of your story with “sidebars” — small areas of text that highlight important things about you — e.g., “strengths for parenting,” “why family matters,” or “our annual vacation.”

Your profile should include a “Dear Birth Family” letter to make the reader(s) feel cherished — including such things as a thank you for their consideration of you, appreciation for their loving/brave decision, your commitment to openness in the adoption, and your unconditional love for their child.

We also recommend a “Note to Our Child,” which allows you to speak from your heart to the child as if he/she were listening. Of course, it’s for the birth family now, but it’s also something wonderful to show your child when he/she is old enough.

Your Pictures
Choose your favorite photographs and make them a mix of posed and candid shots. Perfectly posed photos, one right after the other, can become boring. Adding some “caught off guard” moments will enhance realism. Non-people pictures, such as your home or nursery, are also helpful.

Use your captions not only to briefly describe the contents of the photos, but to reveal something about you as well. For example, “Camping in the Smokey Mountains. We love the outdoors” or “At the baseball stadium. We’ve followed the Reds for years.”

If taking new photos for the profile, take them at the highest possible resolution on your camera. If scanning photos, scan them to a size that is about 4X as large as you would envision them in the finished profile.

When selecting digital photos from your computer, remember that they will appear in print about 24% of the size that they appear on your computer.

Your Style
Select colors, fonts and text/photo arrangements that reflect your style. At Adoption Profiles by Design, we offer a number of suggestions, but the final choice should be what you think reflects your family best — from playful to sophisticated.

Covers should focus on the strongest elements of your story. You might have one great, large photo for a cover page, or focus on your “Dear Birth Family Letter,” etc.

To sum it up, when your heartfelt words, photos and graphic style come together in an easily readable format, you will not only have an effective means of reaching birthparents, but something your family will treasure forever.

Adoption Profiles by Design is here to help — and, we keep it affordable, offering great design along with beautiful, professional printing at no extra cost.

May all your adoption dreams come true.

Deb Slater has been in graphic design for over 25 years and her skills run the gamut — from print (magazines, newsletters, brochures, advertising, books and more) digital (websites, email marketing) to content (writing, editing, proofreading). Her clients have ranged from large universities and hospitals to individuals writing their first book. Her recent involvement with an adoption agency led to the formation of Adoption Profiles by Design — a venture that allows her to use her skills in an area near and dear to her heart.

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IAG 037: Answering transracial adoption questions with Rachel Garlinghouse

Posted on 30. Aug, 2015 by .

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Transracial adoption is such a huge topic to cover, so I wanted to bring Rachel Garlinghouse back on the show. She was our amazing guest back in episode 31.

Rachel is a gifted writer, a blogger, and most importantly – a mom of 3 from transracial, open adoptions. She is (in her own words) crazy passionate about transracial adoption. She has written several books, including:

Rachel has written for a ton of big names – including Essence Magazine, ABCNews.com, HuffingtonPost, and Adoptive Families Magazine. She also wrote an amazing guest post right here on the InfantAdoptionGuide blog called 5 Things to Consider Before Adopting Transracially.

You can learn more about Rachel and follow her blog at: WhiteSugarBrownSugar.comShe will open your eyes to what it’s like to adopt a child from a different race than yours.

This show is extra special, because we asked thousands of adoptive families on several Facebook support groups what they wanted to know about transracial adoption, especially from an adoptive parent’s point of view.

The responses from all over Facebook show us that we really need to keep talking about transracial adoption – and provide support for each other. By the way – if you are interested, I’ve added links to several domestic adoption support Facebook groups below.

So this episode is entirely devoted to answering questions from people who want to know more about transracial adoption – directly from a mom.

Our hope and prayer is that this episode will provide inspiration to those hopeful adoptive families who are pursuing their dream of building their family through infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Hear the answer to the question “How do you deal with the stares & dumb questions when in public?”
  • Listen to Rachel answer the question “How are you teaching your child about racism?”
  • Find out what Rachel says is the BEST thing she has done for her children.
  • Rachel explains how (and from whom) she gets advice and help for raising her children.
  • Find out which books, blogs, and other resources Rachel recommends for transracial adoption information.
    AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Join Facebook support groups: 

Listen and Subscribe to the IAG show on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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IAG 036: Adoptive Dad panel Part 2 – a guy’s view on infant adoption

Posted on 29. Jun, 2015 by .

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This is is part 2 of the amazing adoptive dad panel where Jake Stewart, Dan Welz and I have a rare talk about infant adoption from a guy’s point of view.

If you haven’t listened to part 1 yet, I highly recommend you check it out first.

Jake told his adoption story in Episode 23. He and his wife have adopted two children – both as newborns. They have open adoptions with their children’s birthparents. Now they are excited as they are expecting their first biological child!

Dan and his wife adopted their son in 2011 and enjoy and open adoption with his birthparents. Now they are on the journey to adopt again!

I’m so excited to share part 2 of this adoptive dad panel discussion with you. We had a fun sharing our stories, tips, and resources.

There’s not a lot of support for the men who are on the adoption journey.

Our hope and prayer is that this episode will provide inspiration to those hopeful adoptive dads (and moms too) who are pursuing their dream of building their family through infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Stories about open adoption from each guy’s personal experience (and you’ll hear why open adoption is so important to us).
  • How men can support their wives through the adoption process.
  • How women can support their husbands through the adoption process.
  • Tips and advice from each of the dads for any hopeful adoptive family.
    AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

InfantAdoptionGuide.com/35 – listen to part 1 of our adoptive dad discussion.
Answers in Abundance: A Miraculous Adoption Journey as Told from a Father’s Heart – great book that Dan suggested that any guy should read.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/23 – hear Jake’s full adoption story.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/Dads – a Facebook support group for adoptive dads and hopeful adoptive dads.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/iTunes – If you like the show, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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IAG 035: Adoptive dad panel – infant adoption from a guy’s point of view – Part 1

Posted on 20. Jun, 2015 by .

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This episode is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It is very special to me because we have not one but two dads as guests on the show – Jake Stewart and Dan Welz.

These guys are here to have a very rare and unique roundtable discussion – a guy’s view on infant adoption.IAG 035 Adoptive Dad panel

You may remember Jake was a guest on the show back on Episode 23. He and his wife have adopted two children – both as newborns. They have open adoptions with their children’s birthparents. Some amazing and exciting news is that they are expecting their first biological child!

Dan and his wife adopted back in 2011 and enjoy and open adoption with their child’s birthparents. They have started the adoption process again – so they are waiting to bring home their second child!

I’m so excited to share this adoptive dad panel discussion with you. We had a blast talking with each other. In fact, we talked about so much that I’ve split the conversation into two episodes!

Today, you’ll hear part 1 and the next episode will be part 2, where we finish our amazing conversation about how guy’s view infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What each of our adoptive dads felt like when they and their wives were first matched.
  • How much they were involved in the adoption process.
  • What it’s like to have an open adoption (from a guy’s point of view).
  • Tips and advice from the dads for any guy who is going through the adoption process.
    AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Answers in Abundance: A Miraculous Adoption Journey as Told from a Father’s Heart – great book that Dan suggested that any guy should read.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/23 – hear Jake’s full adoption story.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/Dads – a Facebook support group for adoptive dads and hopeful adoptive dads.
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/iTunes – If you like the show, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!
InfantAdoptionGuide.com/36 – PART 2 of our adoptive dad panel! Listen to the rest of our amazing conversation.

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The Dreams that You Dare to Dream Really Do Come True…. Don’t They? Part 2

Posted on 04. Jun, 2015 by .

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The following is a guest post by hopeful adoptive mom, Josie Sowers. She and her husband Scott are currently waiting to adopt. She shares her heart and her faith as they get closer to the day when their dream of becoming parents comes true. You can read part 1. The following is part 2 by Josie.
Here you go…

We had our profile shown recently to a birth family.

They ended up going with another couple and I was heartbroken, of course, while at the same time thrilled that other couple received the answer to their prayers. I cringed inside as people said “God has the perfect child out there for you and will bring them to you in His perfect timing. This wasn’t the right one for you.”

As irritating as that was to hear at the time, they were so right. God will do what brings Him the most glory and what He knows will be for our greatest good in HIS timing, not mine.

His sovereign plan was for this sweet baby to go to their mama and daddy so they could accomplish things, have the life they wouldn’t have had with us. Who knows what will happen in their life now, how their life would have been different had they gone to any other family?

The same concept will apply when we get matched. Who knows what God will ultimately do with our child’s life when they join us or how He will use us in that process?

I do know we are to raise them in a godly way, teach them that they are sinners in need of a Savior, that God loves them, died for them, and has tasks for them to accomplish that He had prepared before time began. (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Beyond that, I’m not sure what God wants to do. I’m excited to see what happens, though.

Friend, as you are waiting, as another holiday passes without a child to share it with, as you’re crying out to God through your tears, angry and confused, remember this: you’re not alone.

I’m right there with you.

I’ve probably felt and thought everything you have. Sadness, hopelessness, anger, excitement, joy, hope.

Then it seems to cycle back around again. Blech. No fun at all.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster… did I mention I HATE roller coasters? I will not step foot in one. EVER.

I went on one of those kiddie spinner rides once and that was enough for me. So this just proves my theory that roller coasters of any sort are pure evil.

One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to make you feel isolated and hopeless. Don’t let him. Fight. Just know that if God truly has placed the desire in your heart to raise children, if it’s truly in His plans for your life, it’ll happen.

It may not be in the time frame you want, but it’ll happen. Take deep breaths. Pray. Breath again. Pray again.

Put one foot in front of the other and, when you feel like you can’t take one more breath or step, cling to Christ. That’s exactly where He wants us: in complete dependence on Him. God loves you, friend, and I do, too.

Hang in there, trust in His timing and enjoy growing closer to Him as He stretches you, grows you and draws you closer to Himself.
God Bless,
Josie

Josie Sowers is an adoption advocate, mommy in waiting, blogger and Food Network, History Channel and HGTV junkie. She has been married to the love of her life, Scott, since January 2011 and their fur baby, Ziva, joined their family in May 2014. She blogs at BlessedBeyondMeasure11.wordpress.com

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IAG 034: Coley Strickland of Birthmom Buds

Posted on 25. May, 2015 by .

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We have a very special guest on the show – Nicole “Coley” Strickland is here to share about her experience as a birthmom, and how she went on to co-found BirthmomBuds.com.Birthmom

Coley is the President and Executive Director of BirthMom Buds which provides support to birthmothers through its many programs including the buddy system, pregnant and placing program, and annual birthmother retreats.

In addition to the numerous articles she has written, she has also been featured on a number of radio programs, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as in books such as:

How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeleine Melcher
and
A Personal Touch on Adoption by Peter Berlin

Coley has been blessed to parent her special needs son Noah, who along with the son she placed, is the love of her life.

She has further given a voice to the bittersweet turmoil birthmothers go through, by becoming an active member of the adoption community, writing, speaking and sharing her story with others.

This is why I’m so excited about talking with Coley today!

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why Coley co-founded Birthmom Buds.
  • How Birthmom Buds provides amazing support for birthmoms, women considering adoption, and hopeful adoptive parents.
  • What makes them unique among adoption support groups.
  • Listen to what Coley hopes that all adoptive parents learn from Birthmom Buds.
  • Hear some success stories from women who have received support from Birthmom Buds.
  • Why you should set up an open adoption contact agreement.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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The Dreams that You Dare to Dream Really Do Come True…. Don’t They? Part 1

Posted on 22. May, 2015 by .

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The following is a guest post by hopeful adoptive mom, Josie Sowers. She and her husband Scott are currently waiting to adopt. She shares her heart and her faith as they get closer to the day when their dream of becoming parents comes true.
This is part 1 of 2 posts by Josie. Here you go…

I’m horrible at waiting. Like really, really horrible at it. Ask my husband.IAG post dreams you dare to dream really do come true don't they

If we’re watching a TV show that has a cliffhanger to it and there just so happens to be an article online containing spoilers, I tend to find myself reading the article, finding out which major character died or who won a particular competition.

If we have a goal we want to achieve as a couple, I want it accomplished YESTERDAY so we can move on to the next goal.

So you can imagine how much fun the adoption process has been, where you are at the mercy of the adoption agency and government entities. You can’t control how long it takes them to process paperwork.

You have filling out applications down to a science, can get it done and submitted in no time, but once it’s out of your hands, you can’t say when it’ll get the stamp of a approval.

Did you know that God’s word has examples of people who also struggled with patience and releasing control? Did you know that God used their weaknesses to grow them and draw them closer to Him?

One such example is when the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. That’s right. I’m going Old Testament on you. Hang on, cause it’s gonna be a fun ride back in time.

Think of me as Doc Brown, which makes you Marty McFly… except we don’t have a tricked out DeLorean to ride around in. Sad, right?

Now obviously the Israelites weren’t thrilled with being exiled in a strange land with a strange language and strange gods and wanted to go back to their homeland immediately. They didn’t understand God’s sovereign plan, though.

Hindsight is 20/20, right? Jeremiah 29:10 says “For thus says the Lord: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.’” Can you imagine how ticked they were? They would have to wait 70 years before they saw their home again?!

I don’t know about you, but if I had to wait 70 years for ANYTHING, I’d go nuts. The verse that follows, Jeremiah 29:11, is one of the most popular memory verses in the Bible and provides the reason why He made them wait that long. It says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”

One of my Pastors, Rob Green, covered this verse not too long ago and made a great point: that verse is used out of context a lot. People jump to the verses that are warm and fuzzy and don’t read into the backstory. Without verse 10, you miss a lot of the purpose of verse 11. Yes, God does have a plan for our lives, our future children’s lives, but sometimes that comes after years of struggle and tears and growing pains.

Not always, but sometimes.

Can you identify with the Israelites at all? I know I can.

Our profile has been active less than a year and it feels like it’s been 70 years already. It’s easy for me to question God, asking, “Why is this taking so long, Lord? Why have we gone through so many ups and downs?” and, although He’s never answered me audibly, His word does provide clear answers: God is sovereign. I am not.

He “knows the plans He has for me.” Whether that means waiting 1 more year or 5 more, I don’t know.

I do know that, until He moves us forward, I need to rest in His promise that He has only my best interest in mind.

God bless,
Josie

Check part 2 of her post here.

Josie Sowers is an adoption advocate, mommy in waiting, blogger and Food Network, History Channel and HGTV junkie. She has been married to the love of her life, Scott, since January 2011 and their fur baby, Ziva, joined their family in May 2014. She blogs at BlessedBeyondMeasure11.wordpress.com

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