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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting...

Hey Friends,
It's been a while, again. Sorry about that. I do have good news though. OUR HOMESTUDY WAS APPROVED AND WE ARE ON THE WAITING LIST!!! It's about two weeks earlier than we thought it would be, and we are stoked. It could be tomorrow or 2 years from now, so we're trying to prepare ourselves for a long wait, but be ready when the time comes. I'm going to buy small diapers to have just in case, and we're getting out the baby swing so that Tate can get used to sharing his space with some other toys.

Part of the process is writing a "Dear Birthparent" letter, so I want to share ours with you guys, so that you know what Sam's birth mom, and possibly birth dad will read about us when they see our profile.

Dear Birthmother and Birthfather,
Thank you so much for looking at our book, and giving us or someone else the chance to be parents. Deuteronomy 30:19 & 20 says “this day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” We read this verse the other day and thought about you. You have chosen life, and we believe you will be richly blessed for this choice. We deeply admire you for your decision.
We have prayed about openness a lot in our adoption, and we are very comfortable with any level, but would prefer a more open adoption. We would love to have our child know you, (if you are comfortable with it), know who you are and have very little mystery surrounding the adoption. We are really very open in every aspect of our lives, and our adoption would be no different.
Let me tell you a little bit about us. We are believers in Christ, first and foremost. We met at a Christian camp, and we friends for two years. During that time, Mark was in Maryland at the US Naval Academy, finishing his degree in Mechanical Engineering. We started dating the summer after he graduated, and got married a year and a half later. We’ve been married for over four years now, and it’s been a whirlwind! Mark is still in the Navy (for now), serving on Submarine’s, so we had to move to Virginia soon after we got married. While we were there we bought our first house-a real fixer upper. We lived there for two and a half years and during that time we renovated our entire house…and learned a lot about each other in the process. Jenni was able to finish my Bachelors Degree in Biology, with a minor in Latin American Studies from Old Dominion University. Mark spent a lot of time on his submarine, USS Florida, and we got very involved in our local church, Believers. We served on the drama team and the welcome team and really enjoyed it, even though we felt uncomfortable at first. God used our time in Virginia to strengthen our marriage and mature our faith. Near the end of our time there, we had our son, Tate. It was not the timing we had planned, but it was God’s, and it was perfect. We were able to move back to Washington (where we both call home) in December of 2006 to be near family. It is such a blessing to be close to family again, and have Mark home on Shore Duty. We have really great relationships with both of our families and we love being involved in their lives. Because we love being close to our families, we have decided to pursue other career options outside of the Navy so that Mark can be home more often. We are excited about staying in the area, and the chance for Mark to be home every night!
A bit more about Jenni…she love all things Spanish; the people, the language, the culture, all of it. She had the opportunity to travel to several Central American countries doing mission trips, and that is the foundation of her love of Spanish. It is her desire to raise our kids in a bilingual home and raise them to appreciate and understand other cultures, not just their own. This is one of the many things she loves about being a Mom and staying at home. She never anticipated enjoying this stage of life as much as she does, and is so thankful for the time she has to spend with our kid(s) at home. She loves and cares for me (Mark) and Tate very well, and is an incredible wife and mom.
As for Mark-he loves to play games...card games, board games, all of them. He is very good with strategy games, so we limit those so everyone has a chance to win. He is also getting interested in wood turning on the lathe, and is also learning Spanish and trying to complete his Master’s degree in Engineering Management. Most importantly, he loves God with his whole heart, and loves Tate and me (Jenni) with the same intensity. He is very supportive of me, and is understanding of my need to have adult interaction after being with Tate all day. He appreciates and encourages me in my creative outlets; scrap booking, knitting, crocheting and sewing, but doesn’t let them overtake my life. He inspires me to give my best, and takes over with Tate for a while when he gets home so that I can exercise. As far as his relationship with Tate I don’t think it could be any better. Mark is very involved in every aspect of his life…the diaper changing, preparing and feeding dinner, reading, playtime, all of it. He has developed his own bedtime routine with Tate, including a special book, songs and prayers. That is their “special time” together, and I don’t intrude, but I do join them occasionally. Mark is truly a great dad, and I can’t say enough about how involved he is in Tate’s life.
We’re sure you’re wondering why we are adopting when we have a biological child, and why we are ready for another one when Tate is still so young. The adoption is sort of a long story, but the basic point is before we were married God laid it on both of our hearts that when it’s time to have a family, we will adopt. We both felt that it was the right thing for us to do, and about the time we were starting with adoption the first time, we found out we were pregnant with Tate. We decided that when the time was right for the next one we would start the adoption process and continue with it as long as God opened the doors. He had blown the doors open for this adoption process, and we are content standing in the center of his will. As far as Tate’s age (he’ll be 2 in August) we both have siblings that are close to our ages, and we are both incredibly close to them. We want our kids to have good relationships with their siblings as well, and feel that it’s easier to have a great relationship with a sibling when you’re close to their age.
We hope you feel that you have gotten to know us a bit better by reading my letter. No matter if you choose us or not, thank you for making the courageous choice to not have an abortion. You are truly an example of courage, grace and love. We sincerely pray that God richly blesses you in all you do.

In Him,
Mark, Jenni & Tate Stearns


Well, I've got to get some work done around here. I love you all!

Jenni

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