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The focus on this training is to increase participants’ awareness of how professionals can care for ourselves by alleviating the stress caused by situations that seem to challenge our boundaries. The training will be delivered via Zoom.com live internet meeting. The goal of this training is to increase the professional’s self-awareness regarding boundaries, and give tools that help develop appropriate boundaries.

1 CEU is available for licensed counselor and social workers.

It takes place on July 9, 2019 from noon-1pm EST via Zoom meeting. 

The cost per participant is $10. 

To register:  https://spiritofaith.wufoo.com/forms/register-and-pay-for-continuing-education-courses/

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Jennifer is a member of the Spirit of Faith Adoptions staff.  She is a birth mother.  She is an author and the founder of the first annual 2020 Fireweed Birth Parent Retreat at Beulah Beach in Vermillion, Ohio. Jennifer is going to guest speak, and share an exerpt from her soon to be published book entitled, "Fireweed" where she describes what led up to her unplanned pregnancy and decision-making.  Her heart was hurting and she needed support.  "When She Changes Her Mind" is a professional training seminar that will give you an insider view into her circustances, her decision-making process and her hurts.  It's really important to be able to empathize with our clients.  This seminar is open to anyone who works with expectant parents:  volunteers, teachers, adoption assessors, counselors, therapists, clergy, and pregnancy center staff.  1 CEU is available for licensed counselor and social workers. It takes place on June 6, 2019 from noon-1pm EST via Zoom meeting.  The cost per participant is $10.  To register:  https://spiritofaith.wufoo.com/forms/register-and-pay-for-continuing-education-courses/

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Join us from your desk, using your computer.  All meetings will be presented virtually via Zoom.com.  Just $10 per participant per course.

To register and pay:  https://spiritofaith.wufoo.com/forms/register-and-pay-for-continuing-education-courses/

 

Date

Time:

Topic

Additional Info:

5-2-19  

Noon-1pm EST

How to Talk to Clients About Adoption

Guest speaker:  Birth mother: Jen

6-6-19  

Noon-1pm EST

When She Changes Her Mind

Guest speaker: Birth mother, Jen

7-9-19  

Noon-1pm EST

Healthy Boundaries for Professionals

 

8-1-19

Noon-1pm EST

Coping with Guilt and Grief

 

9-5-19

Noon-1pm EST

The Lifelong Impact of Adoption

Guest speakers: Adult adoptee and a birth mother

10-3-19

Noon-1pm EST

Supervision- How to keep people engaged

 

11-7-19

Noon-1pm EST

Ethics- What’s your motivation?

 

Spirit of Faith Adoptions is an approved CEU provider for the Ohio Social Worker, Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist Board, # RCS111501


Questions:  contact Ellie Hartford:  ellie@spiritoffaithadoptions.org     419-843-5355

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Our adoption story started out like many families.  When we were married in 2004 we were eager to start our family, thinking that, like most people, it would just happen “naturally”. After many years, several failed fertility procedures and a lot of heartache we had a lightbulb moment.  We were putting God in a box, insisting that our traditional family building plan was the only option, not letting Him guide our steps. Not that we hadn’t been praying all that time, that God would bless us with a pregnancy, but until we really let God take the wheel I can honestly say that we hadn’t let God show us His plan for our family.  I think that at some point, most people who decide to adopt have the “will my love for an adopted child be the same as a biological child” question. We are not ashamed to admit that we had many discussions about this, because it was during those tear-filled talks and endless prayers that God told us – Of course we can, and we will.

We found Spirit of Faith adoption through a google search for Christian Adoption Agencies.  After filling out the initial request for information we were contacted by Stacy. After talking with her about our main concerns, one being the financial aspect, she said, and I will never forget “if God brought you to it, he will get you through it” a concept that we apply to most everything now.  We enjoyed the process to get to our homestudy, because we felt like we were moving in the right direction. Our homestudy was approved in June of 2013. We sent a letter to friends and family, had a HUGE yard sale and made 150 pumpkin rolls to raise some additional funds. Then we waited. The waiting, all the waiting.  The part that is a part of most/all adoption stories. We put our heart and soul into our profile book, we made a little video, and we prayed. We prayed when we got out of bed in the morning, we prayed in the car on the way to work, and our favorite prayed time of all was before bed. We prayed for the birthmom out there somewhere.  We prayed for our baby. We prayed every night that no matter where in the world, or what was going on in their life, that they would feel Gods love and protection. That we loved them, before knowing them.

We got THE call in July 2014.  We had set it up so that when a call came from SOFA it would ring both of our phones.  The call came in on the way home from the grocery store, on a stretch of road with splotchy cell service.  Both of our phones rang, and we pulled right over to take the call. There was a birthmom who had seen our profile book and felt a connection to us, she wanted to meet us in a couple days.  We nervously made the drive, one of us didn’t speak the whole time and one of us couldn’t stop talking. We arrived at the pregnancy center and spoke with a wonderful lady who had been helping the birthmom with the adoption process and she made us feel so comfortable.  When we all sat down together we talked about our lives, our childhood, our families, our desire to be parents. Birthmom shared her story and her reasons for wanting to place her baby. After our meeting there was hugging and crying and the feeling that we had just met members of our family.  As we hugged it out, she told us that she already felt like her baby was our baby. We drove home that night with unimaginable peace. We knew that a “God thing” had just happened. We were officially matched the next day and we had 10 weeks to wait. This wait was completely different. We put a pregnancy tracker on our phone so that we knew what was going on in the womb and prayed each night for baby girl’s development, for her ears and eyes, and toes and heart and tummy.  We prayed that God would let her feel our love and bond us to her in the womb. We prayed that birthmom would be at peace, that she would feel His love and our love as well, that she would be blessed beyond all measure.

After a couple false alarms, we all met at the hospital on delivery day.  Our beautiful, perfect, pink little girl came into this world one week before our 10th anniversary.  Her sweet birthmom insisted that I(mommy) be present at the birth, because she wanted to see my reaction to meeting my baby after 10 years of waiting for her.  It was amazing. Birthmom was amazing. We spent the next 72 hours with our new baby, and I can honestly say that this was “natural”. “Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but miraculously my own”, The most “natural” feeling we ever had.  We also spent a lot of that time with birthmom, we wanted her to feel like she knew us, that this was about making a family, not just being given a baby. We cherish those hours spent telling childhood stories, learning about her life and family and just being content in the place that God had brought us all.  We prayed together, we all said thank you about a million times, as if that is enough to say to someone after just blessing us with the gift of a child. We agreed to communicate via email for the first year and then after that we would see what happened next. And although we no longer communicate with her birthmom, we are open to the idea, and pray that someday if our daughter wants to know her biological family, she will be able to do that.  

One more thing, we had to wait again, one more time, to finalize the adoption in court. This time we waited as a family of three.  We snuggled our little peanut and thanked God for bringing her to us, we cried tears of happiness, tears of concern, tears of exhaustion and tears of gratitude for the blessing of adoption, and the privilege to be mommy and daddy to the one that God had planned for us all along.  

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Have you been thinking about adopting?  Would you like the opportunity to ask a birth mother questions about her experience?   Would you like to hear a adoptive family's story of adopting 2 babies through Spirit of Faith Adoptions?  If "yes," please click here to register to attend the next Infant Adoption Orientation meeting via Zoom on January 24, 2019 from 7-8pm.  Advanced registration is required.  There is no cost or obligation to attend.  

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Spirit of Faith Adoptions will be hosting a day of education and training for new adoptive parents on December 3, 2018 from 9am-4:30pm. Anyone who is interested in learning more information about adopting an infant through Spirit of Faith Adoptions is invited to contact Jennifer @ 419-843-5355 ext 2 or you may complete an initial inquiry by clicking here

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Over the past week, I’ve had people tell me I was a good mom . . . not only to my daughter (who is 10 going on 35), which I’ve heard before, but to my son.  Someone told me again today, and it made me cry.  I was 18 when I “made an adoption plan” for my son (that’s what they say now).  At the time, I was choosing the family who would raise him instead of me.  Over the years, I’ve had people tell me that I did a wonderful thing for him, and I’ve had people tell me that I gave him a gift.  But never before has anyone said I was a good mom. 

He’s twenty-three now, and two weeks ago, I reached out through a letter to my son’s Mom.  Because I’m adopted myself, I understand what it’s like to have questions, and to want to know where you came from.  . . . and I thought that he was probably old enough to deal with the complicated answers to the likely questions, and that if he wanted those answers, he deserved to have them . . . and I thought that maybe now it would be okay for me to know him without creating any more issues for him than I already had.   That’s what I thought . . . what I knew was that in his life, she’s the one who has done all the hard work.  She’s the one who was there for the “firsts” . . . and for the celebrations, and the challenges, and the struggles.  And she deserves my respect.  She deserves better from me than for me to go around her to try to establish a place in my son’s life.  So when I felt that it was time to reach out to him, I knew that what I needed to do was to reach out to her first.  It just seemed right.

I spent weeks very carefully crafting the letter . . . it was the most important one I had ever written.   I wanted to make sure she understood that I knew she was his Mom, and that I didn’t expect anything from her, or more importantly from him.  I wanted to make sure she knew that I was adopted too, and I understood what that meant, and that because of that, I wanted him to have any answers that I had to give.  I also wanted to make clear that any further contact was her choice . . . because she’s his Mom.  She knows him.  She knows what his questions are (if his has any), and she knows what he needs.  She knows if this is a good time for him to deal with these issues, or if this needs to wait because of other circumstances that I know nothing about.  And I wanted her to know that I know she loves him, and knows what’s best for him.

Two weeks ago, I mailed that letter.  And three days after that, I received an email from my son.  Communication has been slow and gradual, which is what he wants, and I agree that it’s for the best.  And we’ll see where things go from here.  But for today, people think I’m a good mom to him . . . not just twenty-three years ago, but two weeks ago, and today.  And that means more to me than words can express.  To them, I’m not just his birth mother.  I’m a good mom.

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The sound of a ringing phone in my quiet classroom startled me.  I always put my phone on silent before my 22 second graders walked in, so I was surprised that I had forgotten that morning. I walked over to my table to switch it off, all the while thinking, “Who could be calling me at 7:45 in the morning?” I didn’t recognize the number and assumed it was a telemarketer, but then I realized that it was probably too early for that. I decided to answer and the voice on the other end said, “Hi, this is Jennifer from Spirit of Faith Adoptions.” I suddenly found myself being told all about a baby that had been born and that the birth parents had seen our book and wanted to meet us as soon as possible. My surprise at forgetting to put my phone on silent turned to thankfulness, as I realized that I probably wouldn’t have seen Jennifer’s call until I took my class to lunch several hours later. The simple act of leaving my cell phone on was the first of many events that I saw as signs from God that this little baby was meant to join our family.

              My husband and I anxiously drove to the hospital, eager to meet with the birth parents, but also overwhelmed with nerves. I didn’t allow myself to daydream too much about this little one, already trying to mentally prepare myself in case things didn’t work out, so we spent most of our time talking about the dreary weather and the list of errands we needed to run later that week. But as I stared out the window, I couldn’t help but think this might be it. We had lost a dear family member just three days before and had just come home from the funeral. Maybe this was God’s way of sending us joy amidst so much sadness. Although I didn’t say it out loud to my husband, I saw it as yet another sign.

              When we arrived at the hospital, we met with the birth parents’ adoption counselor, who gave us more details about the birth parents and the baby. When she told us the baby’s birth date, my husband and I both looked at each other, eyes wide in astonishment. “Did you say…?” I asked, in disbelief that she had just said that the baby had been born on my husband’s birthday. “Yes, that was the date,” she said. My husband and I locked eyes, smiling at each other and laughing. “What were the chances of us adopting a baby born on my husband’s birthday?” I thought. Again, another sign.

              We were taken into a room to meet the birth parents. We were both incredibly nervous, but the conversation flowed so easily and we really enjoyed getting to know them. Since having a healthy open adoption is so important to us, my husband and I always said we’d have to truly like the birth parents and picture them being a part of our lives. It was so easy to see that with this couple! They were friendly and engaging, and clearly loved this new baby that they had brought into the world. We left the meeting feeling positive that it had gone well for all of us.

              While the adoption counselor spent more time with the couple, we decided to go get lunch. We were both relatively quiet while eating, both of us lost in our own thoughts and not wanting to verbalize our hopes, so worried to feel the pangs of disappointment. Since we hadn’t heard from the adoption counselor during lunch, we decided to run over to Target to pass the time. As we were walking in, we passed a very pregnant woman pushing the red cart. Then right behind her was another woman with a newborn baby wrapped closely to her chest. And just a few steps behind her was yet another pregnant woman walking down the aisle! We both turned and looked at each other, disbelief on both of our faces. I muttered, “Weird,” and my husband said, “Yep,” in agreement. Was this another sign from God that this baby was coming home with us?

              The afternoon dragged by incredibly slowly as we waited to hear something. We finally received a phone call that the birth parents were both struggling with the decision to place for adoption and needed more time to think about what they wanted to do. As much as we both had tried not to get our hopes up, the feeling of disappointment was starting to creep in as we realized the very real possibility that the couple would decide to parent.

              Ultimately, we received that phone call a few hours later. While it stung to hear the words that the birth parents wanted to parent, I immediately said to my husband that we needed to remember God’s sovereignty in this process and that we should pray for the young couple and their journey ahead. Although I said those words aloud to my husband and wanted to be strong for him, if I’m being honest, I didn’t feel like praying. Inside, I questioned why in the world God had brought us two hours from home to be surrounded with all of these strange signs, only to go home without the baby. We drove home in a heavy silence. Finding the right words to articulate our feelings was nearly impossible and not even needed, since we were the only two people in the world at that moment who knew what we were feeling.

Once we got home, I continued to feel disappointed and puzzled, but as confused as I felt, I faithfully prayed every day for the birth parents and every day for God’s sovereignty. As much as I didn’t understand, I trusted God and knew that that particular baby was never supposed to be ours. And then one day a couple of weeks later, I no longer found myself praying because it was the right thing to do; rather, I was praying because I wanted to. I realized that my heart had healed and that I truly was at peace with the birth parents’ decision and thankful that God ultimately was guiding our steps.

              Soon after, I went out to dinner with friends and found myself sharing what had happened. Besides my husband and sisters, I hadn’t really opened up to others about how I was feeling, so it felt good to share the experience. After telling our story, I said that I was still trying to figure out why God had wanted us to go through that day, but even if I never understood, I knew that He had a purpose behind it. My one friend immediately said, “I think I know why.” I was surprised that she thought she had the answer so quickly, when I had spent days pondering the why over and over again.

              “I think God wanted to remind you how much you really want to adopt a baby. I think you’d forgotten and this was His way of reminding you,” she said easily.

              Her words sank in and gave me chills as I realized that she was completely right. We had gone an entire year without any phone calls from Spirit of Faith. As I thought back over the past 12 months, I realized that I had completely pushed adoption into the farthest corners of my mind, rarely to ever be thought about. Whether it was as a means of protecting myself from worry and sadness, or just from the busyness of life, I had stopped allowing myself to think about my dream of one day expanding our family through adoption. I knew my friend was right. This was God’s gentle nudge. He wanted me to remember how He had given me a heart for adoption.

              Three short weeks later, I was so thankful for God’s reminder that we were meant to adopt. It was a Saturday afternoon when I received another call from Jennifer at Spirit of Faith, telling me that a baby boy had been born and the birth mother wanted to meet us. That baby boy is cuddled against my chest as I write this, breathing deeply as I snuggle against his downy head. I know in my heart that God, in all His sovereignty, meant for this sweet little one to be ours. This journey, through its long quiet periods and short-term disappointments, was ultimately meant to lead us to him.   

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It's National Adoption Awareness Month.  Although it's a good reminder for this family, to remember and honor their daughter's birth mother's decisions, they don't need to be reminded.  Every single day that this adoptive mother looks at her daughter, she smiles.  She said she sees her daughter's birth mother in her daughter all the time!  Their adoption occurred 17 years ago now.  Back then, open adoptions were not the norm, but it was definitely their preference to get to know the first mother of their daughter before adopting their child into their family.  This mother needed to know that her daughter's birth mother would be okay.  During their meetings, they talked a lot about the future.  Before a pretty emotional parting, just before the baby was to be discharged from the hospital, the adoptive mother overheard her daughter's birth mother saying goodbye to her daughter, whispering sweet, gentle words to her baby, "We're going to be okay.  You are going to be okay.  You have great parents.  I love you with all of my heart!"  This adoptive mom will always remember and cherish the sacrifice this courageous woman made, in the name of unconditional love between a mother and her daughter.  Although they have not seen one another face to face since that day, the daughter knows this story.  She knows she is loved immensely, by both of her families.  She says she is not ready to meet her birth mother yet, but she is very glad to know who she is.  

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November is National Adoption Awareness month.  In anticipation, we invite adoptive families to share their stories with us!

This story began 3 years ago, in October of 2015 when this broken-hearted woman and her husband attended Spirit of Faith Adoptions' Orientation training.  To her, it feels like it was yesterday and she remembers how sad and broken she felt that day.  They felt discouraged and hopeless, questioning whether or not they would ever become parents.  Today, her story is much different.  She said, "God completely changed my heart!"  She had suffered two miscarriages prior to starting the adoption process, and she was nearing her 40's.  Today, she and her husband are the proud parents to two beautiful babies!   They are half siblings and they are less than one year apart.  She said, "This love is so big, we can do this together!"  This mom said that the best way to love your adopted children is to love their birth parents.  She and her husband keep in touch with their daughters' birth mother weekly, and they have planned a face to face meeting to happen pretty soon.  This mother explained how much God continues to teach them about adoption.  God has changed their hearts to be parents to these two precious little girls.  She said, "our daughters get to be loved by so many people in their lives.  The best way to love your children is to love their first mama."  She feels incredibly blessed to have her prayers answered, and for her heart to be so full of love for adoption.  

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