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Jennifer Allwood | 30 Days of Prayer

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……Continued from part 1. Click here if you missed it.

Warning: this post is long. With few pictures. And many references to crazy conversations I have with God.

I do hope you read it.

So after months of paperwork and appointments, we sent in our adoption packets to 2 adoption agencies in March. We had naively assumed the “approval process” would go quickly. We are decent enough people. No criminal histories. No reason to see them denying us. So we thought we would probably get approved the following week….maybe 2 weeks later?

By some standards it may have been quick…. but it took until May (2 months later) for one agency to approve us and until July (4 months later) for the other agency. Basically when an agency gets your packets they have to go thru it with a fine tooth comb. And inevitably….there are forms missed, signatures missed, etc. They also have to type up the entire home study. And have it signed off on by the “head” of each agency. Essentially…they have to ensure we aren’t nut jobs.

There were also parts of our lives the out of state agency wanted “more information” on. Because we have 3 bio kids, they wanted our home study coordinator to come interview just our kids. Again….probably to make sure our kids aren’t nut jobs either.

What a hilarious experience that was. Our coordinator is a great woman who over the course of the last 10 months has gotten to know us well.

And thank God.

Because Ava got on the floor and barked like a dog for a portion of the interview.

And Easton shocked me by expressing some concerns over how the new child would affect him and his brother.

In them middle of the interview, the boys started to rough-house….or what we affectionately refer to in our house as “playing grab ass”.

And I just giggled at my family and our life. It is chaotic and real and loud and authentic. And I love it.

I feel confident our coordinator loves us and yet I couldn’t help but wonder what notes she was making……hmmmmmmmmmm????

Then she has to go back to her office and take several weeks to write up our home study. Basically a small book that a judge will see before we are able to get our new baby one day. I would love to read it, but I am pretty sure just the attorneys and her have access to it.

So we wait for our approvals and in the meantime, my phone rings one day in March. It’s my painting mentor and friend, Brenda Deeter who owns Morningstar Faux Finishing here in KC. Brenda is a wonderful woman of God who I know hears from the Lord. She called because she had a word from the Lord for me. I am thinking “sweet! What could it be???”. Hoping for a word like “you will win the lottery” or “your business will prosper” or something like that. LOL!

She tells me the Lord told her we are to “prepare our hearts“.

“Prepare my heart???????” What the heck does that mean? Prepare for what? Prepare for heartache? Prepare for sadness? I associate the word “prepare” with “get ready”. So instantly I am thinking….get your heart ready. But ready for what?????

So I calmly thank her for her call and then I go into full blown meltdown. You know, the one that requires a BFF to come to your house at 10:00 pm on a school night in her slippers with a bottle of wine. After talking me off the ledge, she assured me God gives GOOD gifts and “prepare our hearts” is a GOOD word. I am not convinced.

As God would have it, the next day I went thru my unopened mail for the week. Junk.junk.bills.bills. And an invitation to an adoption seminar from our home study coordinator. I remember her inviting us but I had brushed it off.

I open the invite and see it’s an evening to discuss “trans racial adoption” (adopting a child of a race different than your family’s race). I glace at the date and see it’s on a school night— St Patrick’s Day at that– and start to dismiss the idea of going.

UNTIL….I see the title of the seminar….”Preparing your Heart”.

Insert catching of breath, eyes filling with tears and smoke shooting out of my ears like a bad cartoon clip. I knew instantly this is why I had received that word from the Lord the day before….Jason and I were to go.


So on a night when much of the world is out drinking green beer….Jason and I went and listened to a Caucasian family who had adopted 2 African American girls as newborns. What an eye opener that night was. We had always been open to adopting a baby girl who was not white….now our hearts were being wooed in that direction.


So time passes after the seminar. Suddenly our “Spidey senses” are on high alert to all families who are trans racial. We begin to notice the families. And begin to explore in our heart what God may or may not be asking us to do.


And then my mom takes my 3 year old daughter shopping for a “new baby”. Ava came home with a darling brown skinned baby doll with absolutely no prompting from anyone and no discussions about what her sister may or may not look like. I am left thinking “Lord is this a sign?????”. I love how children don’t see color. They just see a baby.


I can’t explain how or why we feel led to adopt transracially. But we do. Despite hearing a few horror stories, despite gentle resistance from a few people in our life who mean well, despite not knowing the first thing about raising a baby of another color or ethnicity…..this is where our heart is at.


More time passes and I am working one day this spring on a Wednesday. I remember because typically there are no garage sales in KC on Wednesdays. And yet on this day….I saw a garage sale sign. I am about 40 miles away from home and have some time to kill before a painting appointment. I decide to follow the sign and see if by chance is wasn’t just an old sign left up.


As God would have it, I find the garage sale and am super stoked. It appears to be mostly tiny girl baby clothes, but I walk into the garage anyway. I see the clothes are all too small for Ava and am just about to leave when the homeowner comes out and tell me there is furniture inside the house for sale as they are preparing to move. Sweet I think….she was speaking my love language.


So I go in, not suspecting my heart is about to get rocked and I start to look around. I hear the voice of a young girl and turn around to see the most beautiful, African American, 4 year old girl I have ever laid eyes on. My heart skips a beat as I take into account that the mother is white. I glance around the room and see…….a family photo….with 2 white parents, 3 white children and 1 beautiful black toddler. My heart just melts. THIS IS WHAT MY FAMILY MAY LOOK LIKE!!!


I engage the mother in conversation and yes the girl is adopted. They adopted her out of the foster care system which took 3 years to finalize. They had been planning to move to another state for years, but couldn’t until the adoption was complete. I marvelled at what some families are willing to do take in another child. It humbled me.


I was encouraged and thanked the lovely mother for her time and began to leave her garage. But then…. I spied with my little eye an adorable animal print dress laying on a table as I walk out. I check the tag just in case it’s big enough for Ava and am disappointed to see it’s 12-18 months.


I begin to put the dress down until I hear the still, small voice of the Lord….”you could buy it for your next daughter”.


I pause.


I contemplate in my heart.


Buying the dress would mean I was crazy ‘cuz we don’t even know if there will BE a baby for us after all this process. And it would also mean I am totally 100% on board with God’s plan for us. And I am still thinking I am willing to take the next step and see where it leads, but not completely welcoming the idea yet either. So I put the dress down.


And as clear as day I hear God whisper to my heart “Jen, you can get on board with this adoption thing or not, but either way ……it’s gonna happen”.


So right there in this stranger’s garage without her having any idea….God and I have this little heart to heart where my eyes are brimming with tears and I know I need to be obedient and yet it means me giving up a piece of my heart and control over my life and I feel scared and angry and crazy all in some women’s garage.



And I begin to think I am dreaming up wacko conversations in my head and maybe I am loosing my mind.



And then emotionally exhausted, I gave up. And let God win. ‘Cuz He will win at some point anyway.


I bought the dress.


In a split second, I decide I need to change my mindset to believe that buying the dress is NOT crazy, but an act of faith that I do believe I will have another daughter. And my signal to God that ok…..I am willing.


And I leave the women’s garage, dress in hand, wondering when is my heart ever gonna feel normal again??? I have 3 kids in my arms….and 4 kids in my heart.


The dress hangs out in broad daylight on Ava’s bathroom door every day so I can see it. I put it with a pillow that says it all. “Yes Lord”. It reminds me that the plan is His….and I just need to be a willing participant.


So our approvals came. And I was certain the phone would begin to ring.


And it didn’t. Apparently…..the number of mothers placing their babies up for adoption right now is VERY low compared to previous years.

I have heard some numbers being thrown around like one agency who used to do 3-4 adoptions a month… they have gone 6 months without a baby to place.

In my heart, I am hoping the adoption rate is dropping because of abstinence and not because of an increase in abortion.

And I am also hoping more moms are just choosing to raise their own children after weighing the option of adoption.

Unfortunately tho, one adoption agency has told me that shows like “16 & Pregnant “ on MTV is glamorizing teen parenting…..and lowering the number of babies being placed for adoption. And this is concerning.

Finally in May, we had a phone call with our first birth mom looking at our profile. This was our first experience on the official “adoption roller coaster”. I remind myself to not get excited. But can’t help it.

A few days later we learned the birth mom selected a biracial family with no kiddos for her biracial baby girl. I totally bless that decision and totally get that.

Call #2 came the same week. Same exact situation, just different birthmom. She also chose a biracial family with no kids.

And then we waited and waited.

Finally, a call last week. A Caucasian baby girl due in December. I was not surprised when we weren’t selected.
Then the very next day…..a 4th birthmom looked at our profile. I was sure this was it. I had a dream the 4th birthmom selected us. This birthmom was due in 12 days (yesterday was her due date). Wowza. I began to sweat a little since we have no bottles, no pacifiers, no diapers, nothing but a crib ready for a baby! And we were headed to Boston for 4 days on a trip my husband won thru his work. The time frame seemed intense, but we felt excited and a little confident.

I was shocked when the adoption coordinator called and said this mom had selected a biracial family with no children for her African American baby also. I am happy for the family. But sad for us.


So it’s now 11 months since we began our process and at times I feel like it will never happen and at other times I feel she is so close that I can almost smell her skin.



At times I think it’s ok if we only have these 3 kids. Then other times I catch myself feeling like I am missing saying goodnight to one of my children.


Some days I feel like God wouldn’t take us this far and then there be no baby. And other days I wonder if He just truly wants to know how much we trust Him.


Some days I wonder how on earth will we have the energy/time/money for another baby. And other days my arms ache to hold a newborn.

At times I wonder if we should explore other agencies? Other countries maybe? But most days I feel like I don’t want to try to smash a round peg into a square hole here. I am certain God wants us with the 2 agencies we are with. Anything else would be a crap shoot. And if I have to fill out one more packet of information I will cry.


It leaves me feeling emotionally naked.

In the end, I know in my knower that my God has my heart in the palm of His hand. He will never leave me nor forsake me. And He is up to something in my family. We have committed to see this thing out. We have no idea how it will look, how it will get paid for, when it will happen. But we do know one thing….that God is good. All the time.

And so, please continue to pray for us and for our baby girl who only has a crib and one dress. LOL.


I am being very specific in my prayers. If you feel led to join us in praying, these are some of my requests. The bible says “we receive not, because we ask not”. So I am asking.

Please pray:

-for us to have a good relationship with the baby’s birth parents. We will be tied to them for life.


– for the child God has for us to be healthy and well taken care of in her birth mother’s womb.


-for her birth mom to have complete and utter peace about her decision to give her child to us to raise.


– for our adoption funds to be here by the time the baby is.


– for a baby girl that will fit perfectly in with our family and who will bond tightly and immediately with our other children.


– for her to be a GREAT sleeper.


And will you remind God that I am 40 years old?? Cuz He may have forgotten. Tick tock. Tick tock.


Please keep us in mind if you hear of a birthmom looking to give her baby up for adoption. We have an adoption attorney, a completed home study and are able to adopt from anywhere in the US. Our ONLY requirement, by unanimous decision of our entire family….. is that the baby is a GIRL and under 2 years of age.


Thank you for your private emails which brought me to tears reading. And your comments….your sweet comments.


That you take time to read about my life and actually respond is humbling. Bless you.


Every few days, my precious 3 year old Ava asks me, “mommy, are we getting my baby sister today?”. And every time I feel like my heart is being ripped from my chest.



I pray it’s a day soon that I can tell her- “yes Ava. Yes, you get your baby sister today“.


  • Sue@Uniquely Chic says:

    Wow….what a beautiful story of your ride through the adoption process. The signs you were given gave me chills. I’ll keep you and your family and soon to be new daughter in my prayers. Please keep us posted.

  • Dixie Mom says:

    I pray that Ava will get her wish soon too.

    What a great story Jen. Prayers are with you and your family.

  • Girly Stuff says:

    You are awesome. God is awsome. Thanks for putting it all out there!

    I’ll be praying!

  • 9405018--Pat says:

    What a wonderful post today. I will keep you and your sweet family in my prayers.Hugs Pat H

  • Jennifer says:

    I LOVED your post today, always love to hear everyone’s adoption story because each one is so unique. I did the same thing and bought stuff for both of my kids before we had a referral and were still “waiting”. Praying because I know the wait is so hard! I totally got chills when I read the part about the word from God.

  • absolutely loved your post today. It was beautiful. I hope you find your baby girl.

  • Tarnished Rose says:

    Good luck and God Bless.

  • (hugs)
    She will come and when she does you will understand why you had to wait.

  • Gypsy Heart says:

    When I first read about your friend saying God gave her the message for you of “prepare your hearts”, my immediate thought was “Oh, great! He’s getting ready to bless them with a baby girl.” I didn’t even think it could be otherwise.

    I have no idea what this experience might be like, however, I trulyl admire you for sharing and my heart goes out to you and your family. I have friends that have 1 son and they adopted 2 African American children, a boy and a girl. If you’d like, I’d be happy to ask if they would be willing to communicate with you. Just a thought ~

    I am reminded of this and would like to share ~ “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” I know He has the plan for your family and the new baby. 🙂

    My prayers will continue!
    P.S. What about buying some diapers, a pacifier or 2, some onesies and blankies? Prepare this baby’s welcome! It’s going to happen…and I believe it will be a short time.

  • Charlotte says:

    May your dreams come true soon….only God knows when that time will be…..You and your family will be a wonderful family to the new baby, and what a wonderful life the new baby will be getting……God bless you for all you and your family have been thru…..most people would have given up by now…..that makes me think you will get a special “gift” at some point.

  • Danica says:

    Amazing and wonderful. God is good. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lori says:

    I read all the way through. One of my twin daughters and her husband are going through fertility treatments. Their fourth round in November. Oh the emotional ride it all is. They are open to adoption, I am going to save this post for when I think God is ready for them to hear it. The baby doll picture reminded me of my youngest daughter. She picked out a Bitty Baby from their catalog she wanted to be able to see the hair so she picked the dark haired one. She loved it, it came in with dark skin as well. One of her grandma’s was bit shocked. But, I just kept telling her that is the one Lynley loved.

  • Frugal Jen says:

    Wow, God is moving you! It brings tears to my eyes when I hear of others listening to him and following. Everything will fall into place as it should. Those other babies were not yours, your little girl is on her way.

    I was adopted and my parents waited for years then one day my mom got a call at school (she was a teacher). They told her you have a baby and you get her tomorrow. Things happen quickly and unexpected.

    I will be praying. You’ve been on my heart wondering how the process was going. Blessings to your family!!

  • Its So Very Cheri says:


    I pray that the God of peace will reign over your family. What an exciting journey.


  • Michelle says:

    Jennifer, Thank you for sharing your heart.I am a birthgrandma in an open adoption. My then 16 year old daughter placed her son for adoption 7 years ago. It’s a huge long story and one that will continue for all of our lives. There are so many God things that happened…like Cameron’s adoptive mom and my daughter(diagnosed after his birth) both have Lupus.

    My daughter and I went to Chicago with some adoptive moms and birthmoms. We visited a women’s center to talk about adoption. One of the things I focused on were the words used. I don’t want you to be upset, but as I was reading your post I read “Please keep us in mind if you hear of a birthmom looking to give her baby up for adoption.” Just a suggestion, but birthmom’s don’t “give up” their children…they love them so much they place them with someone who can provide for them with ALL that they can’t at that time in their life. I believe that if we could teach people to never say the words *give up* that there would be more women who would place their children for adoption.

    I just felt like I should tell you that those words are hard to hear…I hope you aren’t upset and that maybe your next prospective birthmom feels/knows the love you have to share.
    Hugs from Iowa,

  • Jerusha says:

    Love and prayers. So glad to have been reconnected with you through God’s calling on both our hearts. 🙂

  • sandi says:

    aww, sweet ava will get the desires of her heart soon.

  • Terri says:

    Beautiful!!!!!! Can’t wait to read part three!!!! Blessings!

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