Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus' Birth

Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy-the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)

The Birth of Jesus Christ
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:1-21)

Merry Christmas from The Parkers

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Home Study Numero Uno

This morning was our first home study and while we didn’t know what to expect, I’m glad to say it was fairly painless. Our social worker came over to the house for a couple of hours and asked us several background/relationship/everyday-life questions. She was given the grand tour of our home and seemed pleased that there were no drugs or weapons of mass destruction lying around. She was also impressed with Cady’s room; I informed her that only the grandchildren get the privilege of having a one-of-a-kind painted room by Nana.

We were given a couple of ideas for ways to raise money for this adoption. One suggestion was to take donations from families who have items they do not want anymore and then sell them (the stuff, not the families) in a garage sale in the Spring. If anyone is interested in donating items or if you want to help with organizing the sale, just let us know (jkristinparker@yahoo.com or comment below). I’ve never had a garage sale so anyone with expertise is more than welcome to share some insight.
Next we must create individual autobiographies and set up separate interviews with our social worker (Danny & I have been together for the previous 2). After that, it will be time to create our family profile for the birth mothers to see. Fortunately this is something they have set up online so I don’t have to over-obsess about creating one from scratch.

We truly have been blessed and look forward to what God has planned for us as His adopted children.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:3-10)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The 1st Meeting

We had our first meeting with the social worker yesterday and had a lot of our questions answered. We found out that we will more than likely be adopting an infant. For those of you who know me, you know that this makes me very happy. I would be happy with any child, I know that orphans of all ages need homes, but I selfishly hoped I would have at least one more baby. Since we have two children, we may have more of a wait ahead of us because couples without children are put at the top of the list; however, we're not being too picky as to what is "acceptable" to us, so that may be in our favor.

I feel a little more at ease after hearing how our agency cares for the birth mothers and uses this as a ministry to them; sometimes we forget about them. We (I say "we", but I guess I really mean "I") think about the children and the parents who adopt them, but haven't given much thought as to why these women are having to make a truly difficult decision. Whatever their reason may be, I'm so thankful they selflessly choose adoption instead of abortion. I'm also grateful for those who foster, who open up their homes and families to provide, however brief it may be, a loving and safe environment for children who are waiting for their families.

Our next visit with our social worker will be Dec. 8th at our home. In the next few weeks/months, we have quite a bit to do. We have to create a profile that will be shown to prospective mothers, we have to go to the doctor for our check-ups (I of course am used to going to the doctor and getting blood work done, but Danny may not be so excited about this part), we have to get copies of everything from our marriage certificate to our tax returns, etc. So, The Parker's will be busy, busy, busy for the next few months or years (hopefully months). Whatever may come from this, good or bad, we know that God is control and we are excited to see what He has planned for us.

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all." (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Next Step

Today, we received our Child Abuse and Neglect (CANS) forms, finger print cards, and State Police Clearance Letter. The CANS forms are basically a criminal history/background check. The forms were completed online by the two of us, but we have to get them notarized and then will mail them to our social worker and she’ll submit them to Security Biometric Clearing Network (SBCN) (a.k.a. really scary-sounding place). We also have to go to our local police dept or DHR office to get finger print cards processed. 

Thursday November 17th is our first meeting with our social worker. I know it will take a while for a child to be placed with us, but we are excited to get things moving along (hence, this blog, where I feel the need to post every little thing that is happening). 

Side Note: T-Shirts are in; please see me, call me, email me if you’d like to buy one. They are really cute and were designed by our kids, Gage (10) & Cady (5).  $12 for kid sizes, $15 for adult, $20 for XXL. All profits go directly to our adoption account.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So, Just How Much Does Adption Cost?

Since we are going to have fundraisers to help pay for our adoption (and because a few people have asked), I think I should explain up front what some of the costs associated with adoption are and why we are so appreciative of any help we get:

Explanation of Adoption Fees
(Domestic Adoption)
-Application Fee: $250 (due with application submission)
-Initial Program Fee: $500 (due at profile submission)
-1st Home Study Fee (AL Residents): $750 (due at 1st Home Study visit)
-2nd Home Study Fee (AL Residents): $750 (due at 3rd Home Study visit)
-Annual Update Fees (AL Residents): $350, annually
-Placement Fee: $13,000 - 20,000 (Home Study fees are credited to this fee)
ESTIMATED TOTAL: $14,000 - $21,000 (this does not include attorney
fees, background checks, doctor's visits, consultations, etc...)

Now you know why adoption is not for everyone! We are by no means rich, but have been blessed with jobs and the ability to provide for our family. We want to extend the blessings we've received and welcome into our home and family an orphaned child. While we are already saving and making sacrifices of our own, we will need help raising money. We plan on having several fundraisers throughout this process so please let us know if you would like to help in any way or if you have any ideas of some fundraisers you've seen do well. Thank you again for your support and prayers.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."-
James 1:26-27

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adoption T-Shirts

We are selling t-shirts designed by our children, Gage and Cady, to help raise money for our upcoming adoption. All proceeds will be placed in our adoption account that we've set up specifically to help pay adoption expenses. Thank you for your support! Please comment below or send an email to jkristinparker@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

*If you are family/friend/NCBC member and would like to order a shirt but do not want to pay extra to have it shipped to you, send an email to jkristinparker@yahoo.com and we'll bring it to you as soon as we receive it.

-Father to the Fatherless-

This is Cady's design, it says:
"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. Psalm 68:5-6"

-Least of These-
 This is Gage's design, it says:
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me. Mathew 25:40"


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adoption App

We finally completed and mailed our adoption application today. I know it seems silly but I couldn't help but wonder if our answers were good enough. I felt like we were filling out a job application...choose us, we're great! Lifeline is a Christian organization so they asked for some doctrinal background and individual testimonials. I typically don't like testimonials because they seem ME centered (unlike this blog, right?) so I wasn't exactly loving the idea of having to type one up but it was a good exercise in reminding us of what God has done in our lives. I will say that as I typed a sentence, I deleted two; it was frustrating trying to tell "my" story that really isn't about me. I didn't chose God, He chose me; He made me a new creation. Gage, however, liked the idea; he's started to type his own testimonial. I have yet to see the finished product but am looking forward to reading it. We're trying to keep the kids as involved in this process as possible. We're going to make an "adoption savings" box. If Cady has her way, and let's face it she probably will, there will be lots of glitter and stickers on said box. Assuming that our application is approved, I think the next step is a background check which can take a couple of months to complete. If Danny's criminal past stays hidden, we'll be one step closer...just kidding in case this blog is a part of the background check...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Year Later

This time last year, Danny & I were excited about the prospect of having another child. After meeting with doctors and weighing the costs (both financially and physically), we came to the conclusion that getting pregnant again might not be the best decision for us. Since then, we have talked about possibly adopting a child. At first it seemed adoption would be financially impossible for us. We are not what our country considers “rich”, but we are blessed and God has provided for us even though we don’t deserve it. Adoption is costly, but we are hoping for God to show us a way. Through grants, fundraisers, and, if need be, interest –free financing (a girl can dream), God will provide a way for us to add a child to our family. While there are still many decisions to be made, I ask that anyone reading this pray for us as we begin this amazing journey.  

We have found the organization we are going to use (Lifeline Children’s Services). We originally thought of doing an international adoption but after receiving some more detailed information have decided that domestic adoption may be the best option for us at this time. Our next step will be filing our application. I’ll try to update this periodically to let everyone know how things are going. If you or someone you know has adopted or is in the process of adopting, please feel free to leave some advice for us. We need all of the support we can get!