Sunday, February 12, 2017

Choosing JOY

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for not writing in so long! It's been a bit of a roller coaster few months! It's hard for me to believe that it's been nearly six months since my last post!

What's new with us? Well, we have been blessed, but I will be honest and say that I'm not too sorry to see 2016 end. Last September, we received a call from the agency asking if we would be willing to be presented to a birth mother who had recently had twins. We knew that it was only a possibility, but our hearts were hopeful as we waited for the news about whether or not we would be the ones chosen to take care of those sweet little babies. Unfortunately, the situation did not go as expected, and the children were placed with social services. It was another hard blow, but not nearly as hard or bad as what happened last March.

However, other than that, we have had a plentiful few months. Joe has had enough work that I have been able to quit working full-time. I am now substitute teaching for the Glendive school district, and I'm able to be off of work by the time that Lydia gets off of school, which has made it much easier for me to help Lydia do her schoolwork and spend more time together.

That being said, we got a phone call just over a week ago about a possible match. We were called because the situation was a difficult one, and we had to know all of the issues before deciding to be presented or not. We chose to be presented. After waiting a week, we were informed that, unfortunately, the birth mother chose another family. While we grieve our loss, we also rejoice for the other family. Who knows how long they have been waiting or what they have gone through!

It is through all of these things that I have been brought to the realization that joy is something you chose. No matter what is going on in your life; no matter what you are struggling through. You can choose to focus on God's love and plan for your life and live and rest in His love and peace. James tells us in James 1:2 to "Consider it PURE joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kids, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it  work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." As I thought about that, it hit me. These trials are to help me become whole and complete in God, not lacking anything, but only if I choose to consider it pure joy. I can choose to consider it pure evil and be mad and unhappy and discontent, or I can choose to have faith in God and believe that His timing and ways are perfect. It's up to me and what I choose.

This is my encouragement to you, whoever you are and whatever you may be going through, God is not absent. He is there, and He has promised that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It might not make sense right now. Heck, it might never make sense while we are living on this earth. The thing to remember is that God's ways are so much higher and wiser than ours that we might not know until we are with Him. I don't know that then it will matter as much to us as it might now. I don't understand why God would put us in a little girl's life, with every indication that she was officially going to join our family, and then allow her to be taken away. I don't think I'll ever really know, but I believe that we were put in that situation for a reason. Maybe we were a testimony of God's love to her mother. Maybe we will minister to someone else who goes through something just like it. I don't know, but I do know that it happened for a reason. If you are going through something like this or need encouragement, I would love to pray for and with you. God is near to the brokenhearted, and we take such encouragement from that since we have had times of intense brokenhearted the past few years.

For now, we are busy with life, and looking forward to a trip back east in April! It looks like we will be going to Disney World for a few days as well (though Lydia has no idea), so we are very excited for that surprise! We can't begin to express the depth of love we have felt from you, our dear friends and family, as we have gone through these times. I hope and pray that we will have joyful news very soon, but until God's timing, we will be content to rest in Him.

With all our love,

Joe, Shiloh, and Lydia





Saturday, August 20, 2016

From Us to You

Hello Everyone (or I guess I should say, everyone who reads my posts),

 I know I haven't posted in a long time, and I am sorry about that. Joe and I are so appreciative of all the love and prayers for us these past few months especially.

So, what is going on with us right now? Well, as most of you know or have read in my previous post, we lost our little girl before the adoption was finalized. I can't begin to express the depth of that loss. I will be honest. We had several people tell us things like, "Well, she wasn't yours anyhow," and, "It's not like you really lost a child that was yours." I have to completely disagree with those comments, though I know they were well-meant. We had fully accepted her into our family. We had her clothes sorted. Her room was prepared. Her absence in our family is noticed every day. Though we never experienced a miscarriage or still-birth, I would imagine that it would feel the exact same way. When we walked back through our door after everything fell apart, I could barely keep it together when I saw her bed, her clothes...everything that we had so joyfully prepared was just a painful reminder that she was not with us.

That being said, things are much better now, though we have good days and bad days. She's never far from our hearts, and we pray for her daily. The encouraging thing is that God had used our brokenness and pain to draw us closer to Him, and we have learned more from this experience than I could have imagined.

I'm not going to say it was easy, and I'm not going to say that this wound will be something that we have for the rest of our lives. It simply wouldn't be true, but we chose to trust God's direction for our lives. He has our dear child in His hands, and we trust that He is caring for her and that His plan for her is the best plan.

That being said, Joe and I are still in the adoptive pool. Last month, I received word from our social worker that the time table had changed for our foster care licensing, and instead of the two months that I thought I had, Joe and I only had less than a week to complete our re-licensing information (about 8 hours worth of work). Those were some of the bad days. I had hoped and prayed that I would not have to do that paperwork again. The good thing is that we did get the paperwork completed, and we should get our re-licensing information from the state soon.

I feel like infertility, adoption loss, and miscarriages are so often taboo to talk about, but I am hoping that my openness will help that, at least a little bit. Joe and I have gone through two of those issues. It's a hard thing, and the more we have been open about it, the more people we meet who have gone through similar things. If you are going through these things, don't feel like you are alone! We are here, and if you need to talk or just vent, please let us pray for you and with you. I've learned that it's okay to not be okay. Sometimes, being vulnerable with one another and admitting we don't have all the answers is the best help we can give.

One of the things that I have really come to know and believe is that, even if our loss means that we can help one other person or family grieve through their own losses, it will be worth it. So many times, the losses and hardships that we face are ways in which, if we choose to let them, can be our most effective tools to help others. You know that saying about taking a walk in a man's shoes before judging him? I think that's a true thing, but it's even more profound if you've already worn those same shoes before in your own life. Our prayer is that, if nothing else, we can use this part of our journey to help others at some point down the road.

As many of you know, I started working not long after the adoption fell through. It has been a very good thing for our family, even though it was a difficult transition in the beginning. I'm working at our local community college, and I love being able to interact with students there and have made many new friends with both the students and my coworkers. Joe's work was slow this spring, but is picking up rapidly, and we are so thankful for God's provision for us.

Please know that each and everyone of you who have texted, messaged, and prayer for us has made a difference in our lives. We know that we are not alone, and we are hopeful as we look forward to what God has for us. Of course, we hope that our baby will come along soon, but until then, we will wait patiently.

Again, thank you for your continued support. We do have a fair amount left to raise for when we have a child placed with us, so if you could also be praying for God's provision for us financially, we'd certainly appreciate it!

For now, we are hopeful and learning to trust God more than ever. Our pastor went through a series recently that really opened my eyes. Sometimes, as a Christian, I think, "If we can just get past this trial, then it will be smooth sailing." I've had my eyes opened through these past experiences that there is always another trial coming our way, but it is through the trials that we have gone through before that have helped prepare us for the struggles ahead. My goal is to come to a place where I am thankful for everything we have gone through, both as a family and personally. I'll admit that I'm not fully there yet, but I have my eyes on the prize.


Thank you all, and we pray that God continues to bless each and every one of you as you walk through your own trials in your journey of life!


Love,

Joe, Shiloh, and Lydia

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Heartbreak & Hope




 As many of you know, we had our adoption process stopped yesterday morning. The long story short is basically that we had been selected to adopt a 20-month-old little girl. We met her and a few members of her family on Monday, and things went wonderfully. Unfortunately, the birth father was either unaware or simply unprepared to complete the necessary steps in order for us to take custody of this little angel. We were notified by our social worker first thing on Tuesday morning.

First of all, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to us in various ways. Truly, we are blessed with how much support, love, and prayer that have been showered upon us. This has been an extremely hard turn of events, since it had such an unexpected outcome. There is a chance, though slim, that the birth father could change his mind (he had originally agreed to the adoption wholeheartedly), but Joe and I will soon be put back on the wait list for CSSM. 

Though we are heartsick over these events, we have faith and confidence that this is all part of God's plan. It isn't an easy place to be in, and we are truly so heartbroken over how things worked out. However, our hope is not placed on the things of this earth, and we take comfort in knowing that God is present with us through all of this. It is always so hard to have a dream come to an end, even temporarily. It truly feels like a death, though it is worse in some ways because we also know that this precious little girl is still in an unsafe situation, and that hurts our hearts the worst. Please pray for her protection physically, emotionally, and mentally, and that God would place other people in her life who will point her to Him. 


Our time of grieving is not over, but we also have the hope and joy that this is not the end. We pray that this time will bring us closer to God and closer as a family. I am reminded, as I type, that this blog is called "Adventures in Adoption". In adventures, there are always times of troubles and pain. The truly great adventures are the ones in which the characters take their troubles and sorrows, persevere through them, and ultimately find what they have been so desperately searching for. I also take comfort in Jesus' words “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33.


We covet your prayers, and we are so thankful for every one of them. If nothing else, this experience is drawing us closer to God and each other, which is an amazing blessing, and we hope that we can be a blessing to others through this. We love you all.


-Joe, Shiloh, & Lydia 





Monday, March 21, 2016

NEWS!!!



 We have the most incredible, exciting, fantastic news!!! We got a call on Friday that we have been selected for a placement! We aren't going to give out many more details at this time since we're still in the early stages, BUT keep a watch out! The next few weeks, God willing, will bring a huge change to the Hubbard family! For those of you who have asked if we need anything, prayer is definitely number 1! This is a wonderful time, but it is full of nervousness and uncertainty. Please pray that God gives us wisdom, grace, and love towards everyone involved in this process! We will also be adding things to the registries at Amazon.com & Target once we have more information. Again, we are waiting a little bit to go full out, but we promise that we will be giving updates as soon as things continue to develop! We cannot thank you all enough for praying for us, crying with us, and loving us through this entire process! God is SO good, and we do not deserve all of the grace that He extends to us! For our friends in Maryland, this puts a hold on our plans to come visit, but please know that we are planning to still come out there as soon as we can! Remember to keep an eye out for more updates! :)

Much love to you all,

Joe, Shiloh & Lydia

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A long overdue update!

Hello to everyone who reads my blog!

I'm not sure how many people do, but I do know that I have been asked fairly frequently over the last few months for an I've been a little preoccupied to write. However, now is the time for an update! It seems impossible to me that it has nearly been 9 months since I've update the blog! I'm going to try to be better about that in the future!

So, where are we at now with this process? Well, we are still waiting! It's incredible to me that we've been officially in the adoption pool for over a year now. I just finished doing the relicensing paperwork over the past two days. Since we will technically be foster parents for the first 6 months after we get our placement, we have to watch videos and read books for our continuing education each year, and then we have to resubmit and update all of the foster care licensing paperwork that we did for our certification last year.

To make a long story short, I spent over 7 hours just filling out and submitting the paperwork for relicensing over the last two days. I was surprised how much of an emotional toll it took on me. Redoing the paperwork that we had done over a year ago, plus the fact that we have been waiting so long caught up with me last night. It's one of those things about adoption that you don't fully understand until you're in it. The passage of time goes by so quickly, yet so slowly. One year been filled with so many changes for our family from Joe changing jobs, to Lydia's loosing her first teeth and starting Kindergarten.

Please don't think that I'm set on complaining. We have been so blessed to even be in this position! God has been so faithful to us, and we know that He will bring our child to us when the timing is right. Our adoption agency has tried to keep us in the loop. I know that our portfolio has been presented on several occasions, but it wasn't the right timing. Please continue to pray that God will give us patience and also, if it's in His will, that we will get a placement soon!

We really do appreciate all of your prayers, questions, and support through this process! I'm hoping that my next update will be a very exciting one, but we will have to wait and see! :)

Oh, one last thing! Our social worker encouraged us to ask that if anyone knows someone who is contemplating adoption, please tell them about us! I'll also be sharing our GoFundMe account on Facebook again today, since we still have some extra adoption expenses that are coming up that we would be extremely blessed to have some help with!

Thank you to you all for your prayers! We are so blessed to have family and friends support us!

With lots of love,

Joe, Shiloh, and Lydia

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Have patience....have patience....

Hi everyone!

I'm not sure how many people actually read my blog, but I do hope (for those of you who obviously do) that it is helpful for you all to know what is going on with us!

Well, we have officially reached the one year mark since the official start of our adoption process! Of course, we had been thinking and praying about adopting for a long time, but last year at this time, we had made the final decision to adopt. What a year it has been! We are also at the six-month mark from the time that we were officially accepted and put into the adoption pool.

The reason I am writing this particular entry is to give you all the official update. At this point, nothing has really changed for us. Pregnancy rates have been very low in the state of Montana, and there haven't been many moms using CSSM since we have been accepted. Our social worker told me the other day that it is a normal cycle to have months without many birthparents and then have a huge influx of new birthparents all at the same time. We still could get a phone call tomorrow telling us that we have a baby, but most likely, it will still be at least a few months (if not longer) until we are selected. This part of the process has been hard, though the Lord has helped keep us busy so that the time doesn't seem so long! I've often found myself singing a song that we sing to Lydia when she is having problems being patient. Many of you probably know it, but it goes like this:

"Have patience. Have patience. Don't be in such a hurry. When you are impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember, that God is patient too. And think of all the times that others have to wait on you!"

It's extremely ironic to me that I use that song for Lydia when I really need it more than she does some days. :) One of the songs that I have considered to be a "life song" for me is also the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller from the movie "Fireproof". That song has always seemed appropriate for me throughout the last few years, and it continues to be a song that helps me refocus on God's mercy and grace when I'm having a hard time with being patient. This time of year really makes me long to have a new baby, but I have been so encouraged by friends and family this holiday season. I know that God has our child already picked out for us, and I just have to learn to wait and be thankful for His provision.

In the meantime, Joe and I have kept busy (which also helps me to not focus on waiting). Joe has been doing wonderfully at his job (he just got a promotion!), and I have been busy homeschooling Lydia, keeping up with housework, and watching a few kids part-time during the week. Joe was in a car accident in the beginning of December (he wasn't hurt, thank the Lord!), and I due to the accident, I have been kept occupied sorting everything out with insurance agencies! I would like to personal thank everyone who have continue to ask about our adoption plans. It is hard to talk about sometimes, but it is so encouraging to know that so many of you have kept us in your thoughts and prayers! Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts! We will keep everyone updated, especially if something happens!

God has been so faithful to us, and we cannot express our gratitude enough to him! We love you all, and we are so thankful for all of our blessings!

With much love and prayers for a wonderful new year,

Joe, Shiloh, and Lydia

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Questions answered! :)

Hello all you happy people!

Well, we have had several questions that seem to keep coming up from most of the people we talk to, so I thought I would write some of the answers down! Some of these questions I have briefly answered in my first blog post, but here are more thorough answers.

Q:  Are you hoping for a baby or an older child?

A: CSSM mostly deals with infant adoption. They occasionally have a toddler come through the program, but that is a rare occurence. We will most likely get a baby, and we may even get to bring the baby straight home from the hospital, depending on the situation.

Q: Are you adopting domestically or internationally?

A: Catholic Social Services do provide local, domestic, and international adoptions, but we are only working with CSSM (which is a specific Montana branch of Catholic Social Services) in local adoptions from the state of Montana. We decided that local adoption is the best choice for our family.

Q: Why did you choose CSSM when there are lots of other adoption agencies out there? And why wouldn't you just go through the state with foster care?

A: We looked into several different adoption agencies, and for those who have asked, we have done our homework. CSSM is one of the top adoption agencies in the state and has been highly recommended to us from many various sources including friends and a local pro-life pregnancy center. We also looked into going through the state with foster care. Ultimately, we did not feel that the foster care system was the right choice for our family. I (Shiloh) talked with a family member who had used the Montana state foster care system, and she gave me her advice. When I called the local foster care office, the woman there was very discouraging, and it became clear that God was closing that option to us. I had felt very clearly that God was calling us to use CSSM, and the more that Joe and I looked into it, the more we both felt that it was the right decision for our family.

Q: Since this is an "open adoption" aren't you worried about the birth mother taking the child back?

A: This question has been asked several times as well. CSSM adoptions are all voluntary parental relinquiments, which means that the birth parents who are using this program are entrusting their children to the adoptive parents of their own free will. These birth parents have made an extremely hard and unselfish decision by putting their child's well-being before their own self-interests. So, the short answer is, no. We are not afraid of that happening because it was the parents' decision initially to entrust us with their child. They are doing what they know to be best for the child, and the openness of the adoption is to promote healing and well-being for both the child and the birth parents. We believe that open adoption truly is in the best interest of our child, and that is why we chose it.

Q: Are you getting a girl or a boy/do you want a girl or a boy?

A: Here is the answer I've been giving to this question. :) If we were having a baby naturally, we wouldn't have a choice, and in this process, we don't either. I don't think we would want to choose to be honest. We want God to bring us the child that is meant for our family, regardless of which gender it is. Gender isn't something you can pick or chooose in this agency, so we have no idea either way. We will be happy to just have a new child to add to our family. Of course, it would be wonderful to have a son, but we sure love little girls too! Lydia has requested a sister, but I think she will end up being just as happy with a little brother. :)

Q: Did you look into any medical treatments to have more children naturally?

A: No, we did not. The answer from the doctors was pretty clear, and though there was still a possibility that we *might* be able to get pregnant, the medical costs are the same if not more than adoption. We both felt that it would be better to give a child who was already conceived a home than to spend the same amount of money and time to try to get pregnant. It was not an easy decision, but it was one that both Joe and I felt was the best for us.

Q: How long will you have to wait for a placement?

A: The best answer? We have no idea! :) There is not set time on when we will get a child. Our social worker told us it could be a few months to four years. It all depends on how many birth parents decide to make an adoption plan, and whether or not they choose our family. Of course, we would love to be able to tell you that we are guaranteed to have a child in six months or less, but that just isn't how things work. We know that good things in life do not come easily, and we are prepared to wait as long as we need to.



In closing, if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! We really do love talking about this whole process, and it is nice to talk to other people about how everything is going, especially since it is hard to not being impatient at times! Please continue to pray for us as we continue to wait on God's timing. We try very hard to stay positive and focus on the many good things that God is doing in our lives, but it can be very discouraging sometimes when it feels like we are not moving forward. We have been extremely blessed with wonderful friends and family, and we know that God truly is working out all of this for His glory!

That is all for tonight! Hopefully most of your questions have been answered! If not, just ask and I'll answer them as best I can!

Thank you again for all of your support!

Love and blessings,

Joe, Shiloh, and Lydia