Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bring Hope Home (Interview Project)

To celebrate National Adoption Month, Heather from Production, Not Reproduction is hosting an interview project.  Adoption bloggers, like myself, signed up, and then Heather matched us up (randomly) with interview partners.

Meet Mattie!  She writes about international adoption (among other things) over at Bring Hope Home.

Besides adoption, Mattie and I share a love for Pinterest, crafting, and Jesus. Mattie has had some great joys and tragic losses in the last few years.  Currently, she and her husband are in the process of adopting from Korea.  You can read her story {here}.  

My questions for Mattie are in gray, her answers are in purple.  You can read the other half of this interview on Mattie's blog, here.

What led you to blogging?

In 2009, shortly after the stillbirth of our daughter, Shyla Joy, I was desperate to connect to others who have been in my shoes.  I found a wonderfully supportive group of ladies through blogging and jumped in October 2009.  It has been extremely therapeutic in my grieving process, and then as we started the adoption journey I see it as a way to chronicle this journey.  

Do you ever struggle with what is too personal to share on your blog?

I do struggle with how much to share, but in the end, I usually share what I feel like I need to get off my chest or anything I think may help others who are going through the same struggles I am.

How did you and your husband come to the decision of adoption internationally, and even more specifically, Korea?

When we first discussed adoption, we looked at pros and cons for several different kinds of adoption.  One of the books we read on domestic infant adoption said that for every one child born in the US whose parents choose an adoption plan, there are 4 families pursuing domestic infant adoption.  We were feeling pulled toward international adoption and that kind of comforted us.  We know that babies whose birth parents choose adoption in the US will find families...that isn't true for many other nations.  [Mattie wrote a post called "Why Korea?"]

When Herb and I decided to adopt, the cost of international adoption pretty much scared us away.  I think a lot of people are concerned about the cost associated with international adoption.  Any thoughts on this?
The cost was daunting at first.  But we also looked at both the federal and state tax credits and coming back after the adoption is finalized would be about half the cost.  And for us (with my medical issues) any way we add to our family will, frankly, cost a lot.  In the end, we know it will all be worth it.  We hate debt and try to stay debt free, but in the beginning, we agreed that IF we had to go into debt for anything, adoption would be the thing we are ok with as a family.  [Check out Mattie's Adoption Fundraisers.]

Do you have any "adoption saving" strategies?
The lengthy time lines give lots of time for fundraising, picking up a few extra projects (my husband mows for lots of people in the summer and does "handy man" type projects as well as officiates high school soccer and basketball games).  I also can't emphasis enough that we also trust that God has called us to this journey and he will help us along the way!

Sometimes families and friends of adopters can say some hurtful or strange things out of ignorance.  Have you been able to educate those near and dear to you about the adoption process and correct terminology?

As far as hurtful things, we have (so far) not been exposed to too much of it.  When my husband and I talk about adoption, we use the correct terminology and hope that it rubs off. We also choose to see comments that are made out of just ignorance not as hurtful, but as a chance to educate others about how amazing adoption can be!

I can't imagine the grief and loss you have suffered over the still births of Shyla and Jakin.  How did you know when the time was right to begin the adoption process?

Before my husband and I ever started trying to conceive on our own, we talked about adoption as a possibility.  Having a degree in social work and being the child of a social service worker, I was very aware of the need of foster/adoptive families and hoped someday that would be something we felt led to do.  

We had our first child in 2007 and it was an easy and complication free pregnancy.  I loved every minute of it.  God blessed us with our daughter in 2009 for just a short while.  When Shyla Joy was stillborn at 28 weeks, I didn't know if I would ever consider having another biological child.  The adoption conversation began again with my husband and I researched a few agencies and learned more about the process.  

Our doctors encouraged us to that if we were ever going to try to have another biological child, we needed to do it soon (clotting factors increase with age) so we prayed a lot and felt like we should try again.  After Jakin passed away due to a non-related heart condition November 24th of 2010, we started talking about adoption again by Christmas.  

We were still grieving, but being aware of how long of a process adoption could be, we wanted to get the ball rolling (and I am SO glad we did).  My husband bought three adoption books for me for Christmas last year and let me know he was ready and by mid-January we had met with our home study agency and started the process.  

We are just a week away from Jakin's first birthday in Heaven and our file hasn't left the country yet.  We are probably at least another year away from actually traveling to meet our child.

When we were adopting Levi, we had a disruption which made us believe that it was a failed placement for about two months.  By the time Levi came home to us, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of never wanting to have another child because I didn't want to go through all the heartache again.  A year later, I still struggle with those feelings.  Do you have any advice?

While our situations are different,  I kind of understand what you are saying.  After we lost Shyla [in 2009], I said for several months that I would "never again" be pregnant.  That I would NEVER open myself up to be so heartbroken again.  I thought that if I was never pregnant again, I would never have to endure the heartbreak of burying my child.  People kept telling me that "time would heal me" and other platitudes like that.  But I think that is just not true.  I believe that God is the only one who can heal those wounds.  

And sure enough, the longing for another child did eventually (although not completely unguardedly) enter my mind.  

We know that there are no guarantees in life.  I'm not trying to be a pessimist, I just know that we live in a broken world and until we are at home in Heaven, no person or situation is completely perfect.  Bad things are going to happen, but with God, we can not only endure these bad things, but we can use them to reach out to the others in this broken world and be a light to them.  We can show them that just because this life hurts, it doesn't mean you are alone.  

I have to give all the credit to God for bringing us through the things we have walked through and through the wait time we are walking through now.  It's not all butterflies and rainbows though.  I still have days when I question and when I doubt, but I know that in the end of all this, we will have a beautiful ending and that God has never and will never leave our sides.  How ever we add to our family, it will be a little dramatic...and a miracle in my I have to come to terms with it being in God's hands and trusting not only his will but his timing.

To check out the other interviews, visit Production, Not Reproduction.


  1. Thanks so much for being such a great partner!!!

  2. Loved the interview! I'm a pinterest & Jesus lover too! Look forward to following both of your blogs!


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