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Jennifer Allwood | 30 Days of Prayer

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When we began our paperwork to adopt domestically last October…..I had a friend tell me to “hold on for the ride…it’s a roller coaster”.

Another friend told me “adoption is pain”.

Turns out….they were both right.

We just had our 4th birthmom look at our profile. And she too selected another family.

In my head……

Yes, I know God’s will be done.

Yes, I know the perfect child is out there for us.

Yes, I know God’s timing is perfect.

But in my heart, it still hurts.

Every time a birth mom’s “wants” line up with our “wants”…..our adoption coordinator calls us with the adoption specifics. Like the due date. Whether or not the father is known. Whether or not the mother has used drugs or alcohol. Is the birthmom wanting a closed or open adoption? Those sort of details. We then have to give her a yes or a no as to whether we want our profile shown to that particular birth mom.

And so each time, although you KNOW in your knower not to get your hopes up….it’s almost like being late on your menstrual cycle. You start thinking. Start looking at a ca lander. Start weighing in your heart the “what if s”.

So when the call comes that another family was selected, you can’t help but be thrilled for them. And you can’t help but be sad for you. It’s the way it works. All 4 of our birthmoms have selected families with no children.

So many people have asked questions about why we were adopting when we already have 3 wonderful, healthy, beautiful children. One woman told me it has to be “God thing” because the majority of parents with biological children don’t consider adoption. And she is probably right.

My husband and I first ordered an adoption packet to look at international adoption almost 8 years ago after the birth of my 2nd son. We started to think that in order to have a baby girl one day….we may have to adopt.

We were so discouraged at the cost…. anywhere from $25k-$40k….depending on the country you adopted from and that was years ago.

So the idea of adoption took a back burner to our checkbook.

After our second miscarriage, we got our baby girl almost 4 years ago. We still talked of adopting at different times. But we talked about it like we talked about wanting to take a trip somewhere. We were open to it, we would love to do it, but we didn’t take the necessary steps to plan for it, save for it and actually follow thru with it. We were being talkers and not doers.

Until last October. Every fall, our neighborhood has a community garage sale. Ava Grace was getting ready to turn 3 years old and I was a few months away from turning 40. So, we sold all of Ava’s baby things except the crib that my momma had bought for her. We assumed we were done having kids. We had gotten our girl.

One month later, God asked us to start adoption paperwork.

Isn’t that how God works really? You think you know what “the plan” is. You think you have your life mapped out. You think you have some control. Then He unzips your heart, scrambles it up, zips you back up and you are left wondering what just happened here? And yet you KNOW……this is what I am supposed to do.

We have been asked “how did you know it was God?”

There were MANY things that happened. Everywhere we went we were running into “adoption stories”. “Adoptive families”. My kids were asking for a baby sister.

I was open to another child, but my hubby was content with our family. So I had begun to pray several times over the years…..if God wanted us to adopt that He would need to convince my husband of it and change his heart to the idea of more kiddos. I was game….. (or so I thought).

In our dining room, I have had 4 picture frames on the wall for almost the entire 8 years we have lived here. Each of my kiddos has a picture in a frame and I have always left the 4th frame open for a 4th child in case we ever adopted.

After a vacation to Disneyworld last fall, I filled the empty picture frame with a picture of my 3 kiddos and instantly felt guilty. It was like giving up on something God had put in my heart years ago. It felt like I was telling God no. It was subtle….but I felt it.

(see the picture of my 3 kids….that frame sat empty for years and years)

Then, we had a women’s conference at our church the first week in November last fall. Our guest speaker was Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries takes in women off of the street and gives them a place to live, a place to heal and a place to get hope. Sometimes those women are pregnant.

At about the same time that conference was happening, my brother and his wife were getting ready to have their first baby.

So, after just selling all of our baby stuff, I was having baby fever. I mentioned that on Facebook. A friend from church mentioned that Mercy Ministries does adoptions. And from there, the wheels started turning.

Our family attended church that Sunday morning and I casually mentioned to my husband that our guest speaker’s organization does adoptions. And he said….”well, we better look into it”. I about passed out. Not that God had changed his heart…..but now wondering oh man. If now he was on board, did I have the guts?

After much talk and prayer between my husband and I, we sent for paperwork the next day. We just decided to “take the next step” and see what God did.

We got our “adoption packet” in late November. We were warned that it takes some families a year to fill it all out. They also told us some families never return the packet because it is so overwhelming and so intrusive.

I wasn’t scared. I have, in the past….. fed one child breakfast while nursing another child and applying makeup at the same time. I am a multitasker!!!! How hard could paperwork be?

So, the “packet” didn’t scare me. Until I got it.

Then I freaked out. We had over 40 forms to fill out.

I gave myself’ ’til the middle of February when we were vacationing in Cancun to finish it. I wanted to sit on the beach and know the paperwork was behind us. I am woman…..or so I thought.

Seriously……I can’t even adequately explain to you the paperwork process.

They want everything from a physical for every person in your home (not covered by insurance by the way) to immunization records for your animals (which thankfully we don’t own). They needed blood work. We had to write letters to the birth mother, write autobiographies, get copies of birth certificates and driver’s licenses and insurance cards.

We had about 15 articles on adoption we had to read. We had to get an official will. We needed letters of references from 4 friends, 4 family members and our pastor.

We had to get FBI fingerprints. Which we found out is only able to be done at 2 locations near us. And the window with which we could get it done in was a 2 hour window one day a week. And it takes sometimes up to 12 weeks to get fingerprint results back? WHAT???????? They just don’t make this EASY.

Then since the adoption agency we were signing with was out of state, we had to select a home study agency here in KC.

And since we were filling out so much information with the Kansas City agency….we decided to get on their waiting list as well.And with that, it happened again. We had to fill out a “packet” with that agency also. More papers, more papers, more papers. Alot of which weren’t the same as the other agency.

We had to have a licensed home study person to our home for interviews with us, interviews with our kids, extensive questioning on our upbringing, our families, our intentions. She had to completely go thru our home looking for cleanliness, order, visible electric problems, etc.

We had to discuss our faith. Our marriage. Our trials. Our fears. Ug.

We had to make a scrapbook for both agencies. And they are d.e.t.a.i.l.e.d. One of our agencies needed a picture of EVERY room in our home, plus pictures of the inside and outside of our house, pictures of just my hubby and I, pictures of our whole family, pictures of family vacations, pictures of holidays.


I am even a scrapbooker…..and it was exhausting rounding up the pictures. Who has a picture of the back of their house just “on hand” …..with the toys actually picked up and the trim all looking freshly painted and the swingset looking “inviting enough” for a birthmom to imagine her child playing on?


And did our pictures look “Christian” enough? Did we look “fun enough”? Did it look like we were open to a non-caucasian child? Did it look like we were clean freaks?


Eventually, I just began to put “real pictures” in the scrapbook….with captions like “this is what our living room REALLY looks like on an average day”. You just have to make the scrapbook and hope it strikes a cord somehow with some mom.





(scrap night with some girlfriends)






It darned near did me in.


It was really a lonely time emotionally for me. Other than just a few friends who have adopted domestically, no one could really understand what we were going thru. And that’s ok. How can I understand what others are going thru if I haven’t walked where they are walking?


So our friends and family just let me whine and cry and fret and pray. And it wasn’t as if we were going thru torture, it was just ALOT of “stuff”. Forms, meetings, appointments, phone calls, faxes. Then refaxing, re-calling, re-sending something. JUST SO MUCH! And with 3 kids already!


I knew if God asked us to do it, He would certainly get us thru it….and yet my head was spinning.


Our church had a week of nightly worship and fasting and praying in the first week of January. I went every night. And every night I filled out adoption paperwork in the safety of my church home as I worshipped my God who was taking me wayyyyyyyyy out of my comfort zone emotionally.


I will never forget the night I laid on our bathroom floor and read the hardest part of the paperwork to my husband. It was a 2 page questionnaire that caused us both to examine our hearts. It went something like this:


“Are you willing to adopt a baby who…..


1) has fetal alchohol syndrome?

13) has a mild physical disability?

15) whose mother has a learning disability?

27) whose mother smoked during pregnancy?

37) whose father is unknown?

44) who is the result of a rape?

57) whose mother used cocaine during pregnancy?

75) whose mother or father suffer from depression?

94) who is part American Indian?

106) whose race is unknown?

115) whose birthdad is bipolar?

And on and on. And it hurt.

It hurt to say no to some “scenarios”.

It hurt to say yes to some.

It was scary to wonder what we may be opening ourselves up to both spiritually and physically.




And it stunk that we wondered if we are up for this????

It hurt to ponder why we were ok with some “scenarios” and not ok with others.




Or I was ok with one question, but my husband wasn’t.

It hurt to know there are “hard to place” babies out there…..babies born under unfathomable circumstances and we were saying no to many of them.

It was raw emotionally.




And yet, my husband and I learned so much about each other and about ourselves during that time. It’s one thing to “think” you are up for whatever God asks of you…’s another thing to mark “yes”. It made me question at times where I was spiritually. Do I really believe that God can help me to raise a child with ……….”whatever”. I don’t know.

And so….our Cancun trip came and went….and the paperwork was soooooooo stinkin’ close to being done. But not quite.

We sent off our official adoption packet on my husband’s 39th birthday in March.

Little Miss Efficient here missed her deadline by a month.

And then the wait began. Not the wait for a baby…..but the wait for our approval from each agency. They ain’t messing around people…..they make sure you are serious about this adoption stuff.

Hear my heart when I say I’m not telling you our story to whine or to make you think we are doing anything special. Because we aren’t. I do think it’s good to talk about things. And to be transparent.


And even tho’ we have been disappointed, we are committed to whatever journey God has for us. And at the end of the journey…there may or may not be a baby. The lesson could be in the journey.


Stay tuned for part II…..

And please keep praying….


  • Korrie@RedHenHome says:

    I think it is a wonderful thing to be willing to go through all this to find the child of your home. Prayers are with you.

  • It will be SO worth it!! Praying!

    Lou Cinda

  • Melanie says:

    wow….I certainly will pray… and here I was complaining about the process that I had to go through to be a volunteer at my son’s school (which was paperwork, background check, references, interview, training etc)…that is nothing compared to what you and your family faced! It will be worth it, I have no doubt!

  • WOW! I had no idea. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey with the world. You faith is beautiful and amazing. Best of luck on finding that special spirit that is meant to be with your family! Prayers will be with you!!

  • Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking says:

    Praying for your guys Jennifer!

  • Lynn says:

    I can’t wait to see what God does next for your family!

  • Danica says:

    Thank you for telling your story. I hope adoption is in my future, but if it is, it is still a ways off. We already have kids, and as you said, adoption has taken a backseat to our checkbook right now.

    It is good to hear about all this stuff so I can keep it in my head and heart as I walk toward that future.

    Thanks. And prayers.

  • Julie says:

    I enjoy your blog for the furniture and also for the wonderfully interesting things going on in your life! Yes, sometimes it’s about the journey, although I know God hears every prayer.

  • Alaina Pompa says:

    Thank you for sharing this so openly. My husband anad I discuss adopting a child all the time. We also have 3 of our own but there is just… something. We sense we are not finished and that adoption is what God is calling us to, not now but in a few years. It’s so good to read your story and to see how God is working. I can hardly wait to hear the rest of the story 🙂

  • Cathy says:

    “And even tho’ we have been disappointed, we are committed to whatever journey God has for us. And at the end of the journey…there may or may not be a baby. The lesson could be in the journey.” Yes!

  • KB says:

    After my second son was born I told my husband that there wouldn’t be any more babies from this body even though we thought we still wanted 2 more kids. Enter 2 toddlers and even that light dimmed. However, there hasn’t been a month that’s gone by that my husband and I haven’t talked about adopting someday and whether that would ever be our calling. I think it will be.
    For me, I think there’s a child out there who needs the love that we want to give. I don’t think that we will be called to love a random child. I think that when there is a child that so perfectly needs us it will be our turn to step up.
    When I read your story I get the same feeling. It’s not that these other families are rejecting you. It’s that the mother/child/family who so perfectly needs and wants your love isn’t the one whose looking right then.
    I can’t imagine how hard any of this is for you yet I somehow know what the outcome will be. When your child finds you it will be right and until then it won’t be. There’s nothing wrong with you or your family – this just isn’t THE match.
    I love that you are sharing so much. I had NO idea it was so grueling. Thank you.
    May God continue to bless you and your family with love, humor, and patience through this journey!

  • Gypsy Heart says:

    I think this is such a heartwarming post. You are being real and honest and revealing. I can only imagine the experience…not understanding any part of it. I do feel that you and your husband are certainly doing your part and God expects that. He does have the Master Plan and it’s so ding dang frustrating when we don’t know it isn’t it? 🙂 You will be blessed, I feel that in my heart. Perhaps a Thanksgiving baby or for Christmas? Will hold you all in prayer.


  • Jennifer says:

    I know exactly what you are going through, been there done that and it’s a rough road! Praying for you!! I do have to say that when I hear that song, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers” I feel like Garth is singing it for me because if God had answered my prayer for every child I wanted then I wouldn’t have the 2 beautiful children that I have right now and I can’t imagine life without them. Yes, the special needs questions are hard BUT both of mine were considered special needs. I don’t know if you ever read my blog but they are happy, healthy and blessings from above!
    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way from my heart, house and home to yours!
    Jennifer fromJust

  • Jennifer says:

    Also, adoption is a rough, rough road but in the end just like labor you tend to forget about all the pain and turmoil that you’ve been through. When you have your child in your arms for the first time it’s such an indescribable feeling of joy. If you have time please read these 2 links and I hope that they help you through part of your adoption journey

  • sara says:

    Adoption is a beautiful thing. When you have your little one, you will know that all of the pain of the unknown was worth it.

  • Pure Juice says:

    Jennifer I just wanted to let you know that reading this made me see just how beautiful your heart is…not that I didn’t already know that of you and your family…it just made me see it even more. You all are a true blessing to me and I know that God will bring you a precious baby girl. He put this in your heart and He will fulfill it! I love reading the journey you all are on and can’t wait to see just what God does in each of your lives. Love you all! 🙂

  • Nancy W says:

    You guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing your story with us! Still praying for you! Hugs from Conroe, Texas

  • Anna says:

    We have adopted several times, and I feel your pain. God put it in our heart and we were selected twice and both times the mothers chanded their minds when the baby was born. We had never even considered foster adopt until the 2nd mom changed her mind. On the drive home I felt a strange peace and then I recieved a call. A grandmother whose grandaughter was in fostercare said she wanted us to adopt her grandaughter. We prayed and said we didn not want to risk having a child with problems and we did not want to love a child and give this back. God came back with “HOW DARE YOU! these children need love and hurt every day, and here you are afraid to get hurt!” that was it, all of our fears gone and we dove in to the fostercare system. God has Blessed us so much. We have our son who is 8 now and the most wonderful boy ever. We had said we would never foster teens but we have to wonderful grown up daughters who love us and lives are better now because of us, and 4 beautiful grandchildren and 1 on the way. When we chose adoption we only wanted a newborn baby girl, we thought the lord had led us into adoption, but he had bigger plans, We prayed often for that baby girl, but when we submitted to what God’s will really was she was not important anymore and stopped looking for her. then out of the blue we recieved a call, a girl who wanted to meet with just to ask questions, she was in my cousins sunday school class. she was just overwhelmed by the choices the agaency had sent her, we met and talked then 2 months later out of the blue she called me and said the Lord wants us to be the parents of her baby. On May 13 2004 she gave birth to our daughter. we were there when swh was born and as a nurse I was able to deliver her, and my dh cut the cord. We had planned a closed adoption but now it is open and wonderful. c says I am her mother too, and no it is not weird feeling it is great and we have a wonderful extended family, relax and let God guide you it makes a big diffrence in the adoption process

  • Anna says:

    BTW we live on Fort Riley if you would like to get togather to talk about adoption.

  • Jennifer, we adopted our second son. We went through four failed adoptions in a year. We even went to the hospital just after the birth of the last one.
    God took us to the deepest depths of sorrow before he sent us our miracle.
    If you want to read our adoption story (it may cheer you up) you can at
    We too had found filling out the ‘will you take a child who. . .’ questioner very painful. It’s a very difficult thing to look deep into your soul and see that ‘no, I could not do that.’ It does give you a lot of self awareness, doesn’t it.
    Your miracle will come. In God’s time and will heal all wounds. I’m not like other adoptive moms who say that with the child that comes you forget the pain. I will never forget those children. I loved them and I lost them. However, I cling to my son and trust God, that there was a purpose to the suffering.
    Prayers for continued strength, patience, and peace.

  • Dana Tucker says:

    I absolutely love your openness and beautiful heart. God has just the right baby for you out there. I think you will love this blog by my new friend Lindsay. Check out her adoption story.

    Praying for you.

    dana tucker

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