Friday, December 28, 2012

Tough News

I'm sure many of you have seen in the news today that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families.  As we understand it, Russia drafted the law in retaliation of a U.S. law which blocks a list of human rights offenders from traveling into the United States.  In some ways, it only reinforces to us the lost and cold hearts of the Russian government officials to make a political move which hurts its own children in response to the U.S.'s attempts to stop injustice.  

We are certainly saddened by this news.  First and foremost, we are sad for the children who could have found forever families but now find themselves stuck in Russian orphanages with very grim prospects for their futures.  Second, we are sad for the families who are deep into the adoption process and now may never bring their children home.  Forty-six families have passed through Russian courts and were simply waiting the required 30 days before their children can leave the country with them.  These families have traveled to Russia twice, both times visiting with who they believed would be their future child, yet they may never be able to bring them home.  Probably another hundred plus families have referrals and pictures of a child who they expected to be their son or daughter but may never see again.  

As for us, we do know that God has plans for our family.  We know He is not surprised by this change, as He wasn't surprised by the change in our timeline when He created Matthew.  This does not change the ultimate plan that He has for us.  Andy and I still believe that God called us to adopt several years ago and that He will complete that work one way or another.  We feel sure that God has a child chosen before the creation of the world to join our family.  We prayerfully chose Russia two years ago for a variety of factors, but we also know that if God allows that door to close, we will prayerfully seek His guidance in another direction.  Please be in prayer for us as we do that.   

Most of all we are assured of this as we complete the Christmas season: Galatians 4:4-7 shares our great news, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir."

God has offered us adoption into His family.  Though we deserve judgment for sin, He sent His Son to redeem us.  It isn't just the baby in the manger who is His child.  "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godchildren born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God," (John 1:12-13).  Those who know Christ as Lord and Savior have an place in His family that no Russian dictator or parliament can change.  And for that, no matter what else may come, we praise Him.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Family of Four

On Friday, September 7th, we welcomed Matthew Dennis Waldroup -- 7 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 inches long.  After lots of early contractions through the third trimester and "taking it easy" (partial bedrest), we had a smooth labor and delivery at 38 weeks and 2 days...praise God and thank you to all who prayed for us the last few months.  I continue to thank God for my OB, Dr. Emily Cunningham, and I am thankful for her grace to not put me on full bedrest and wisdom to see us safely to 38 well as a wonderful delivery.  My contractions were regular and about 4 minutes apart on Friday morning around 7:00 am but not much stronger than all the early ones I'd been having for months.  We went to the hospital and were 4 cm (which we had been on Wednesday at our 38 week appointment).  After walking around the hospital for an hour or so, we were closer to 5 cm.  Dr. Cunningham broke my water around 1:30 followed by a nice epidural, and we welcomed our little man at 5:39pm after only 15 minutes or so of pushing.  You just can't ask for much better!

God also brought us two blessings from our anesthesiologist.  First and foremost, a great epidural.  Second, she has a son from Russia who is about seven.  She showed us pictures and encouraged us to do whatever we could to finish the adoption.  To be honest, with all the early contractions, our adoption had been somewhat out of mind the past few months.  But even during labor and in the delivery room, God began to bring our son/daughter in Russia back to my mind, and it's stayed that way the past few weeks.  He/she has come back to front and center in our prayers as we wait to update our paperwork next year.   We're uncertain (as most adoption stories) how long we will have to wait once we resume, but we know we will welcome this third child in God's timing and that Matthew's birth and the change in schedule that created was fully in God's plan all along. 

Matthew turned 5 1/2 weeks old and is doing great.  He's gaining weight and starting to sleep in longer stretches (4 to 5 hours at night), so I feel like the sleep-deprived fog has lifted somewhat.  Joshua has done beyond amazing.  We've surprisingly seen almost no jealously.  I think the time of partial bedrest made him more independent just in time and gave us plenty of time to talk about what it will be like to have a new baby.  His love for Matthew has truly brightened our hearts.  Our favorite new pastime is "family stories".  I usually feed Matthew while Andy reads or we all sing, and Joshua is about to bust with joy.  It's such a sweet time for Andy and I as we gather as a family of four, thank God for our children here and pray as a family for the son/daughter across the world. 

Thank you to so many of you for your prayers for us and for your encouragement and support through this pregnancy and time of transition.  We are truly blessed!  Please continue to pray for Waldroup #5 and for God's hand on our adoption process. 

Our family of four in the delivery room

Matthew's thinking face while Pops held him at the hospital

After a bath at Grammie's house

Joshua couldn't be more thrilled with baby Matthew

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baby News

So we have Waldroup family baby news...but not the kind we had expected in early 2012. We are 10 weeks pregnant...and not the paper kind of pregnant. We are very unexpectedly expecting, and we find it quite humorous that despite the baby road God has given us in the past, He has a great sense of humor and power over the whole thing. So in case any of you had doubts, God and only God makes babies. He makes who He wants when he wants, and every baby is a blessing.

Though the news definitely took some adjustment for both Andy and myself, we know God is in control of all of this, and we are more than excited that He chose to give us this blessing.

So our biggest question at this news...and maybe yours, what about the adoption? We had a couple of early ultrasounds because of our miscarriage history, which showed good growth and a little heartbeat, even at just 6 weeks along. So we've had some time to discuss our situation with our adoption agency, Buckner Adoption. They have advised us to put the adoption on hold until our new baby is about 9 months old. We definitely felt sad to hear this. We've been waiting now for about a year and praying daily for a son in Russia that we had yet to meet. But at the same time, we believe this is wise counsel from experienced professionals who have our new son from Russia and our whole family's best interest at heart. From a logical perspective, it would take us about four months from the time of referral to get a child from Russia home, and I could not travel internationally past June per my OB. So this left a very small window for us to accept a referral at all. Also, even if we were able to come home in May or June with our new son, this would not allow much time for us to get him adjusted to life in the United States and in our family before the new baby would arrive in September. While we know that our agency could certainly have taken the other perspective that we should do what we could to add this new son to our family as soon as possible, we feel comfortable and confident in this new delayed road. They also confirmed that had we already received a referral, we would have completed the process and brought that child home, even if it was on a tight timeline.

We also, as we said, know that our God is sovereign over all things. We still believe He has a child for us in Russia, and, despite our expectations, that child may or may not be conceived or born as of today. As any family with children who join their family through adoption will attest, God's timing is perfect, even when it seems painfully slow to us as we wait.

We also have other exciting family news. Andy's brother Eric and sister-in-law Joni Beth are expecting as well. Eric & JB will welcome the next Waldroup grandchild around August 1st, and our baby will come around September 19th. Today, we had back to back ultrasounds, as we use the same OB. It was such a fun and unusual blessing to get to share our joy together. We had confirmation that our 10 week old is thriving, and they found out the gender of their 17 week old(watch Facebook for this spilling the beans on our blog). Needless to say, Andy's parents, Denny and Lee, are just a bit excited about two new grandbabies this year, and we all thank God that Lee is retiring in May to make more/longer trips to Lexington possible.

Joshua is very excited. We shared the news of a baby in mommy's tummy with him tonight. He is convinced the baby is a boy. (I guess a year of talking about his brother may be a hard habit to break, if need be.) He loved seeing the pictures of "mommy's baby," so this adds to our joy of this new pregnancy. He also said tonight before we had our family prayer time that, "I love him (baby). I will tell him I love him when he comes out. I will pat his hair."

We would appreciate everyone's prayers through this pregnancy, and please continue to pray that God would prepare us to welcome our child from Russia in God's timing. Thank you as always for your love and support.

Friday, October 28, 2011


So, I had sort of planned to not update the blog until we actually had news (meaning a referral), but we still have so many people asking (and because it's been almost 5 months) how things are going. I thought it was only fair.

We are still waiting for a referral. We did update a bunch of our paperwork a few weeks ago. Here is a picture of the sweet women at the Boyle County courthouse who helped authenticate the updated documents from our home study agency (Adoption Assistance in Danville). The updates came from three factors. First, the home study agency license expired in September (annually renewed). Second, and most positive, our agency opened up two new regions (orphanages) from which to accept referrals for children. Third, a couple of the documents prepared early in the process (homestudy and psychological evaluation) had my name listed as Dana Creech Waldroup, when it needs to match my passport that reads Dana Elizabeth Waldroup. The Russian level of detail never ceases to amaze me! All in all, we had to redo 37 of the 60 original dossier documents. Now, it is much easier to make a quick change (add a region to a list, change a name, etc.) and reprint than to prepare the documents the first time. Since we did have to have all those apostilled at the Kentucky Secretary of State's office, it did mean we are getting very close to the unofficial record that their office told me was 120 documents (also for Russia) for an adoption (60+37=97 and we still have "Dossier Part 2" to complete after our first trip to Russia...we may break it).

We also received the quarterly update from our agency. They do not give waiting list "numbers" like some agencies, but they send out a list of how many families are in which stage of the process. There are three families waiting to make their first trip, so three referrals went out in the last couple of weeks. There are 5 families (including us) waiting for referrals. This still doesn't give us much timing detail, but there are referrals going out. We'll see when God has ours ready.

The good news was that our agency has already placed 22 children in 2011. They had been averaging around 15 a year when we began the process, so we're thankful to hear more children are finding forever families.

As far as our feelings about the wait, I think it was harder for me when we finished all our paperwork than it is today. After working hard to finish everything, it was an adjustment to be just waiting with nothing we could do. Now, I feel like we've settled into the season. Also, I think God has made me realize that having one fairly compliant 2-year-old means life is pretty easy. And, we know that as we make all these trips, bring this new son home and help him adjust to a wildly different life as part of a family and living in America, there will be plenty of challenges on the horizon. We certainly will be thankful to add our second son, for the challenges will more than be worth it. But, it will not be an "easy" season.

Another help in the waiting came as I was able to attend the Lifeway .mom conference in Birmingham last month. There were around 50 breakout sessions to choose from (and only 4 times to about decisions!). One of those I chose was a panel discussion on infertility, adoption, and miscarriage. They had an amazing group of six women on the panel including, Chris Adams (matriarch of Lifeway Women's Ministry) and Heather Platt (David Platt's wife). The discussion was varied but much of the session was simply each woman sharing her family's infertility and adoption story. The unanimous opinion of all the women and their final encouragement was that God's timing is perfect in sending children, even if that means years of infertility, birth mothers who chose to keep a child they'd planned to adopt, or a host of international adoption delays or closings. When you heard it from someone on the other side, it made waiting seem like a gift from God. We are so thankful that our trust is in a Sovereign God who knew His plan for our family before time began. We thank Him for peace and patience that we know is only from Him.

(Might I also add that per Chris Adams one of the planned panel breakouts for .mom 2012 will be a group of adult adoptees--including her twin daughters--called, "I'm adopted. Ask me anything." I'm planning to be there for that and the rest of the conference if any mom friends wants to join me.)

Please continue to pray for our son, wherever he may be. Continue to pray for us to trust God and open our hearts to His peace as we wait to begin our travels. We are so thankful for all of your support and prayer for us through the adoption process.

Also, for those who have not spoken with us the last few months, Andy has responded to God's call into full-time ministry. He'd had felt pulled at different times over the past few years but this summer, God made it abundantly clear to both of us that God wanted this for his life. He enrolled at Southern Seminary in Louisville this semester, driving up for one night class a week and taking one class online. He has kept his engineering job at UK for now and will work there at least through next semester. Please be in prayer for God's direction for him and for our family as he determines what God has for him after that. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dossier Complete!

After around 5 months of paperwork, we have finally completed our applications and dossier. We had 59 original documents which all had to be individually notarized, authenticated and apostilled. This was far more than some of our other friends who have adopted internationally, but apparently this is typical for Russian adoption. The woman at the KY secretary of state's office (in the capital building) said she had one family that had 120 documents, which is sad for them, but made me feel a little better :).

I spoke to our program director this afternoon, and our dossier has been received and approved, so we are officially on the waiting list. Our paperwork will be in Russia early next week where it will begin translation. She reconfirmed the time line of referral for a little boy at 3-8 months. From our referral, it will take us at least a couple more months to travel and have our child home. So, as I've told several of you, we are looking at the end of this year at the earliest, but more likely, we won't bring our new son home till the first half of 2012.

Only the Lord really knows our time line, so now it's up to us to rely on His sovereignty for patience and peace through the waiting. We will also finish up our education materials, get all of our shots for travel, and get our home ready. We should have plenty of time for all of this.

We continue to appreciate everyone's prayers for us. Here are some of our ongoing requests:

  • Pray for our child in Russia, wherever he is. Pray that God will provide for his needs and provide love from his caregivers.

  • Pray for patience and peace for us as we wait.

  • Pray that we will fully trust God's sovereign plan and timing for our adoption.

  • Pray for us as we prepare for the adjustment of caring for our new child with his specific needs and challenges.

  • Pray for us as we continue to parent Joshua and hopefully, in small ways, prepare him for his new brother.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Joshua

Our two year old is one of God's greatest blessings to us, and we love him more than tongue (or keyboard) can tell! He talks constantly, loves to sing (ABC's, Jesus Loves the Little Children, the B-I-B-L-E, and a dozen other songs), runs most of the time, and can count to 20 (usually skipping 15 :). He loves to "read" his Bible and other books with us of by himself, which often involves pulling most of the books out of his bookcase. He also loves to play outside and see his friends at Mom's Day Out, Sunday School, and other church events (I can almost always get him in the car if I start naming the people he is going to see when we get there :). He loves his grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members and friends and wants to know the name of everyone he sees in person, in pictures or in his book ("Who's that?" is probably his favorite phrase). He loves to "help" mommy in the kitchen by taking pitchers and containers out of the lower cabinets while I cook, but he is getting better at putting things back. He is eating well and growing more independent in that area among others. He does love to say, "No", whether or not he really means it. He is relatively compliant for a 2 year old. When he does go to the tantrum, it doesn't usually involve screaming; he simply lays down, leans his head back, and says, "Fit". He loves to color and play with stickers...and I'm sure he'd love markers or paints if his mom had the courage to brave the mess :). He knows all his letters and can usually name one or more things that start with each one, and he's beginning to understand counting (which is so dear to mommy's heart :). He loves to watch Elmo, anything Sesame Street, and his "Bible Movies" which we usually watch when he wakes up so mommy can finish reading her Bible. While there are challenges every day, we know more and more why God tells us that children are a blessing. Joshua certainly is that in our lives!

Exciting News

We want to share some exciting news - Andy and I have begun the process of adopting a child from Russia!

This has been a work in progress for about a year now, but we firmly believe this is what God is calling us to at this time. About a year ago, Andy began thinking about the possibility of adopting, but I was not in favor of it at the time. Andy dropped it for the time being. However, a few months later, God began to impress upon me that this was what He wanted us to do. However, by that time, we had begun taking some fertility medication to enhance our chances of becoming pregnant, so we opted to continue with those plans for the time being, knowing that God was still in control, as He always is. As you know, we experienced a miscarriage in November. Since that time, God has continued working on our hearts and has clearly shown us that He wants us to adopt at this time. Looking back over the last year, He has used friends who have adopted, books we have read, speakers we have heard, and circumstances to bring us to this point. We have seen God more clearly throughout the journey, and we know He has good things in store for our family, even though the road may be challenging.

So now I'm sure you may have a lot of questions. Let us answer a few.

First, why Russia? Well, Andy and I talked about this and explored various adoption options but through some doors being closed, the age of the child we were looking for (younger than Joshua), etc. we kept coming back to Russia. Russia currently has 750,000 orphans, so it is a huge need there. We considered adopting from America, but personally felt uneasy with some of the complications as well as felt excited about being a part of God's work in another nation.

Second, what "type" of child do we want? We would like a child as young and healthy as possible. For Russia, that means the youngest child we could bring home would be about 1 year old, though the child might be closer to 18 months by the time we bring him or her home. Also, we did not specify a gender preference on our application, but due to the high demand for Russian girls in adoption, we will probably be referred a boy.

Third, how long will it take? We have been told that it could take anywhere from about 12 to 18 months from start to finish, so it will be a long process, though not as long as many other options we looked at. We began our process in January, so we expect to travel possibly by the end of 2011 but more likely in the first half of 2012.

Fourth, what agency are we using? We were looking for a reputable, Christian adoption agency, so Andy researched and called quite a few to gathering information. We settled on Buckner International, a Baptist organization which some of our family members have ties to. They have been doing adoptions for decades and came recommended by reputable charities like Shaohannah's Hope. We have heard nothing but good things and have been impressed with this organization thus far.

Fifth, what are the steps in the process? While we can't say for sure exactly what the process will look like (since we've never done this before :), this is how we presently understand it. We finished "Application Part 1" for our agency in January. This was a relatively short, introductory set of documents to make sure there were no red flags before we really dove into the paperwork. We will mail our extensive "Application Part 2" tomorrow. This has taken us about a month to complete. It contains many of the background information and documents that our agency will need for the US and Russian governments. We are also working on our Home Study, which is part of the process for acceptance with US immigration. After Application Part 2 is approved, we will begin working on our dossier for Russia. I'm sure there is other paperwork and steps, so we'll keep you posted. After all paperwork is completed, we will wait for a referral (recommendation for a specific child) from Russia to come from our agency.

Sixth, what will our travel plans include? Currently for Russian adoptions, most parents will make 3 trips. Once we receive and tentatively accept our referral, we will travel to Russia, meet that child, have a secondary medical evaluation of that child done, and set a court date. Then we will return to Russia in one to two months to attend our court date. After court, there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period before we can take the child home. We could simply stay in Russia, but with Joshua at home and Andy's work, a 3 week trip would not be feasible. Finally, we would travel to Russia to bring our child home! Both of us would not have to go on this trip, but bringing a young child we have just gotten to know and who may never have been outside a Russian orphanage on very long plane rides just seems like a 2 man job :).

Andy and I would certainly appreciate your prayers as we go through this long process that I'm sure will be filled with challenges. Here are some of our current prayer requests:

  • Pray for our child in Russia, wherever he or she may be (most likely in utero or in an orphanage) that God would provide loving caregivers and resources to provide for his or her needs, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, until we are able to care for him or her ourselves.

  • Pray that God will draw Andy and I closer together through the process.

  • Pray for us through this spring as we are adding the adoption tasks to already busy schedules (2 year old, my busy Women's Ministry calendar, and Andy's Professional Engineering exam in a few weeks to name a few). Pray God would show us how He would want us to prioritize our time to best glorify Him.

  • Praise God for the encouragement of friends and family as we continue to share with others.

  • Pray for us as we answer questions and respond to the concerns of others when we share our news. Pray that these discussions will open doors for us to share what God has done and is doing in our lives and share the gospel.

  • Pray for us as we make financial decisions, that God would show us how He wants to provide the funds for the adoption.

  • Pray that our "Application Part 2" will be processed smoothly in the next few weeks and that our Home Study will continue to progress.
We look forward to sharing more with you as we move along in the process. And, yes, this does mean the blog is back in operation :).

Andy and Dana (and future big brother, Joshua)