It’s getting really real.

So its been some time since I have updated on our adoption journey, so here it is.

About 2 weeks ago we met with the one and only Jessie Morgan to do an adoption photo-shoot, and it was a blast with lots of laughs—she does photography with such ease. She was the one who shot our wedding and I thought it’d be cool to have her also shoot our adoption pictures. Some may be saying why take photos? Maternity shoots are commonplace when a mom is pregnant and although we aren’t having a baby I wanted to celebrate this great journey in the same way. We are thrilled and are in awe that we could be the chosen parents of some sweet child(ren) out there, and I wanted to celebrate and mark the occasion with some pictures. Also, I’ve wanted to do pictures together and we hadn’t since getting married….anywho it was a busy day! After the photo-shoot we drove to Atlanta to attend an adoption event.

At this event recruiters/caseworkers are present and bring video files and pictures of the various children they are advocating for. You get the opportunity to ask questions and give out a personal family flyer about yourselves so that the caseworkers can think of you as they consider you as a potential fit for their child. Matthew and Ryann Willoughby flyer This was our first go at a flyer and it was last minute, but it can be seen above. While at the event we got to hear about 20 kids. Some were special needs, some were older, some were younger, some stated that they preferred parents that looked like them in their file, some were siblings and everything in between. It was a great experience to get our feet wet! As luck would have it while we were talking to a recruiter  we mentioned that our caseworker for our home-study was Amiee B. And her response was “she is here today!”, this was great news because we hadn’t met her yet and our first meeting was to be at our house in two weeks. We were able to meet her before that first meeting which was wonderful! She shared with us about her pending adoption story and how she got started in adoption and she gave us great insight/advice concerning adoption vs. foster care which solidified our decision to only do foster care in a low risk situation (meaning rights are about to be terminated). Foster care is wonderful, we just decided that for now that isn’t the route for us unless its low risk. Although, we’d like to in the future. Overall great experience!

Now onto the juicey stuff. We had a our home-study on August 24th, 2016. This first visit was about 2 hours long and it consisted of us discussing how we were raised and disciplined. We were asked to discuss our relationships with our parents and siblings and it was a lot of personal questions about past and present family dynamics. We were asked to divulge happy and unhappy family memories. It was a heavy visit, but overall it went well. She explained that this was the most intense of the visits and that the next appointment would be about the home and about our marriage (how we communicate and handle conflict in our marriage). Our next visit is scheduled for SEPTEMBER 8th, 2016 AND then we only have one visit remaining! I find myself praying for this unknown child often and saying things like,

“Dear God, give this dear sweet child(ren) hope and joy today as they have been through so much in their life. I pray father that you put a peace in their heart that we are coming for them. I pray God that you allow this sweet child(ren) to have a  great day and allow those wounds to begin to heal. etc.” I also find myself praying prayers like, “Father, give us the wisdom to begin to prepare our hearts, minds, tongues and homes to be the best fit for this child. I pray that you take control and mold us into the parents that 1). are most pleasing to you AND 2). are best suited for this future child.”

Its a both thrilling and detached feeling, adopting. You know your life is about to change is the most terrifying and beautiful way imaginable and the hardest too, but you don’t know if it’ll be Christmas, Valentines or beyond when this change will occur. Overall, I feel a great sense of honor that I get to love, guide and be apart of this child’s life in a way they so deserve. One part of me is **slightly** sad that I missed all the firsts of my child but also EXCITED that I get the privilege to be apart of the seconds. Also, I get to jump right into the busyness but also the fun parts of seeing their personality fully and get to really play/interact with them.

I am saddened thinking about what circumstances occurred that led up to this child being in care but again feel honor that I get to be part of the second chapter and that I get to earn the title of mom, as many of these kids may have clear memories of mom and struggle to give over that title. I can’t imagine the hurt and abandonment they must feel.

Can I ask you a favor? Can you begin to pray for this child, just as we are preparing for him/her I pray that their hearts are opened as well. Can you pray for their pain, frustrations and daily life— as we both begin a journey…unbeknownst to them of course. Can you join us in surrounding this sweet child in love and prayers for protection and security?

I know that God has commanded us ALL to care for the orphans and I know He has called us to adopt them too.

heart-pinstrip-stretch-lThis love can’t help but to spill out.








One thought on “It’s getting really real.

  1. I am praying for and with you, for you, over and around you and Matthew. I am praying for our new grandchild/ren and I find myself wondering about him, her or them. I keep thinking of how amazing our God is to bless us with the one/s He will be guiding into your hearts, home and our families. What a MIGHTY GOD we serve! I pray that we will be grandparents these new grands will feel comfortable around and we will show the love in our hearts …just for them.
    I love you and I am so excited over you getting closer and closer in opening the door and welcoming in your new family.


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