Monday, November 25, 2013

2013 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Being a new-ish blogger in the adoption community, I decided to put myself out there and participate in the 2013 Adoption Blogger Interview Project.  I was matched with a pretty cool adoptive bloggy Mama that I was already a fan of through her stellar photography work through Red Thread Sessions AND of course her contributions to No Hands But Ours

Nicole's Blog rocks by the way, and you can check it out here:  Living Out His Love.  Her amazing photos, beautiful family, and brutal honesty will draw you in.  Enjoy!

I love that you are a founder of Red Thread Sessions.  We have already contacted our local photographer and are looking forward to getting some photos done once I get back from China.  How did you connect with other photographers that have a passion for adoption and get that off the ground?

Thanks for asking about Red Thread Sessions!  It is a ministry that is close to my heart, and I have been so blessed to watch it grow and blossom over the last few years!  I met the other founding photographer, Nicki, through an old yahoo group for photographers at the end of 2010.  My family was in the process of adopting our daughter at the time, and Nicki had already completed her daughter's adoption.  Being photographers and adoptive moms, charitable adoption photography was on both of our hearts.  We started chatting after Nicki had posted an adoption photography-related thread, and the ideas started flying!  I remember excitedly tapping out emails back and forth to her on my iPhone during a 2-day drive home from visiting family.  I was so excited about working on the organization with her, that I could barely contain my energy.  We came up with a name for the organization, and started working on how it would be structured soon after.  Once we went live a year later, we used social media to spread the word.  We were amazed at how much support we received from the adoption world and from photographers wanting to offer their services to families.  We now have over 400 participating photographers across the U.S.!

Why did you end up adopting through the Chinese Waiting Child Program?  I know that the earthquake in Haiti weighed heavily on you even if you were unable to adopt from there. Were both of you on the same page about adoption initially? Did you consider other countries as well?  When you adopt in the future (wink wink) will you consider China again or another country? 

When we started thinking about adoption because of the Haitian earthquake, adoption actually closed in Haiti temporarily.  There was no indication of when, or if, the program would open again.  We both were fully committed to adopting our third child and absolutely on the same page.  But, my husband wanted to wait for Haiti to open again, I did not.  We had such a burning passion to adopt, I wanted to move forward immediately.  I knew there were many children that needed families all over the world, so I started researching.  I fell on China because the process is clear cut, relatively guaranteed, and only requires one in-country visit.  I talked over the possibility of a Chinese adoption with my husband and after several weeks of prayer, he was on board too.  We never looked back!  If, in the future, we are blessed with another child through adoption, yes we would go back to China.  We have fallen in love with the country and its culture, and also think it would be nice if my daughter had someone in our family who looked like her.

Your homeschool room is pretty darn amazing.  I know it is early on in your homeschooling career, but do you anticipate homeschooling through the teenage years? 

Thanks for your kind words!  I had a lot of fun designing our homeschool room and it has served us very well!  Although I only have a year and a half of homeschooling under my belt, my husband and I both feel strongly that we'd like our children to attend a more "typical" high school.  It's not that we dislike homeschooling for the higher grades, but we both had such positive experiences in high school, we want to share that with our children too.  Of course when the time comes for this decision, we'll bring our children into the discussion and decide what is best for them with their input.  It's difficult to make a decision about something like that so early on.  But as of now, the plan is for them to attend a private high school that has a similar classical education model to what we use at home.

I am traveling to Jiangxi next month.  Any travel tips, especially with a 1 year old?

How exciting that you will be in Jiangxi!  I remember much of it like it was yesterday.  We stayed in a beautiful, new hotel called the Galactic Peace Hotel.  The hotel itself was wonderful and the staff even let us borrow a stroller! It also was within walking distance to the Civil Affairs Office, but unfortunately not close to anything else.  So although the hotel was amazing, we were in an industrial part of the city and were a bit far from many things.  It was difficult to get out and take a walk because of our location in the city.  I know some other adoptive families stayed in another popular hotel that was near everything (except the Civil Affairs Office), but was not as nice.  So if you have any choice about hotels, weigh this information into your decision.  Also, Jiangxi is known for porcelain - you have to stop at a porcelain store and bring some treasures home with you!  Another nice thing about Jiangxi (you may know this already), is that the children are brought to your hotel, you don't go to the Civil Affairs Office ... this was much less chaotic than some of the Gotcha Day videos I've seen because we were the only family meeting for the first time.  

I also had 2 biological children prior to adopting my 3rd as well. I know they are young, but do your children ever talk about adopting? Do you know other local people that have also adopted?

What a great question.  Yes, my children know many families who have adopted.  We have quite an adoptive family network in our area, and also at our church!  There are actually three adoptive families in the small group Bible study we host on Friday evenings, and the children are in constant contact with other adopted children at church too.  I can't tell you how supportive it is to be surrounded by so many families built in a similar way!  Although my son has never said anything about adopting in the future, my older daughter (8) has on many occasions.  She even said to me once, "I think one of the plans for my life is to adopt when I'm older."  That melted my heart. It has been truly amazing to watch their little hearts change and grow because of adoption!

Obviously your faith has played a huge role in all that you do in your life.  Has that always been the case?

I was raised in a Christian home but I didn't really starting owning my faith until I was a married adult, with children.  So the answer to your question is yes and no, I suppose.  I've always known Jesus as my Savior, but I wasn't always living my life for Him consistently.  He was always there, but not necessarily in the forefront of my mind regularly.  Things started to change once my children were born.  Also, my daughter's adoption really strengthened my faith and taught me more about who God is and what He's done for me.  I try to live more intentional now and really strive to live His will for my life.  Part of that is teaching my children about His never-ending love and grace.  It's not easy at all and I am a work in progress, but I'm thankful that I have a forgiving God who loves me no matter how many mistakes I make!

I always look forward to reading the new posts on No Hands But Ours.  How did you start your collaboration with such an awesome group of adoptive moms and dads?

It's hard to believe that it's been two years since I've been blogging at No Hands But Ours! Stefanie asked me if I would become a contributing blogger to share about our experiences with adoption and cleft lip/cleft palate.  I was honored for the privilege to share a bit of our life, and of course said yes!  I don't know how much I've been able to help other adoptive families, but I pray that even just one of my posts has spoken to someone!

Want to know more about this project and perhaps contribute in the future?  Check it out here.

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