Why did we decide to adopt? How did we choose which country? Which fundraisers do we recommend? How are your bio kids taking it? Today I am answering the most frequently asked questions about our adoption story and how this journey is already transforming our lives.
Watch this podcast episode below or download it for later!
As many of you know we are in the process of adopting our 4th child from the Pacific Island of Samoa.
We started the process over 3 years ago when I first shared our story and how we decided to adopt after having 3 kiddos biologically.
I wrote this post where I answered a lot of the most commonly asked questions we get like how did you decide to adopt from Samoa? How did you announce it to your kids? To your families?
As is true for so many things since COVID the unfortunate reality of the paperwork process that exists with adoption has been significantly slowed down.
That being said we should be matched with our son sometime next year.
It takes almost a year then before we are approved to bring him home.
Last fall I hosted a fundraiser for our adoption with a gala where we shared local families’ adoption stories.
Below is the entire presentation. Enjoy!
If you would like to support our adoption, then you can check out our shirt fundraiser HERE.
Our coffee fundraiser is HERE.
Or our donation page HERE.
Thank you so much to everyone who has walked this journey with us and supported us this far.
For more adoption stories be sure to check out:
What spoke to my heart is that Caleb, he didn’t look at these pictures and see the differences. He instantly found a way that he could relate by growing his hair long. There is always a way that you can relate to somebody else, regardless of all of the differences. Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with DIY healthy lifestyle blogger on a former empowering you to transform your. One imperfect day at a time. Hello and welcome back to the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host. Anna Fuller today is a really, really special episode. We are chatting all about our adoption story. As many of you know it as no secret, we are adopting our fourth child. We have three biologically. We are adopting a sun from the Pacific island of Samoa. And today I am sharing our story and frequently asked questions that we get. Including. Why did you decide to adopt in the first place? How did your children take it? Do you get anxious about finances? What have you done to raise money? Um, what are fundraisers that you recommend in order to raise money? Um, how did you choose the country of Samoa? Why aren’t you adopting domestically? Lots and lots of answers to these questions. I’m so excited to chat about all of them, share our heart, our story. And if you listen to the end, you can hear a prayer that I wrote for our son four years ago. Now, when we first decided to adopt that, I still pray over him. And I can’t wait to share this prior with him one day sitting in my lap. Can’t wait. So let’s start at the beginning. Why did we decide to adopt? I will share my story transparently because my prayer is that we can dispel some of the fear of the unknown it’s been said before that perhaps fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. And my passion for sharing people’s stories on the podcast. Is to help dispel some of that fear to offer resources, to help you feel just a little more confident that you can do it too, that you can also bring an orphan home to a forever family. So four years ago, now we wrestled with this adoption question. Lily was about one and a half years old and we were getting ready to talk. Child number four, child number four. And when we were considering adoption, I literally wrote down in my journal, why not to adopt because the reality was I didn’t feel super strongly that I wanted to adopt. I also didn’t feel a piece about, about getting pregnant again. So I wrote down all the reasons I would not want to adopt. These are straight from my journal. Four years ago. It’s expensive. It’s expensive. If you are not aware, adoption can be anywhere from 40,000 to $60,000, whether you’re adopting domestically or internationally, it is expensive. It can take a long time. As I mentioned, these were written down four years ago and we still have not brought our son home. It can take a long time. The process is complicated. I had had three children. Biologically that process was familiar to me, albeit complicated at times as well, and a little scary at times. It was familiar. I knew what that process would look like. Adoption was unknown and felt overwhelming and complicated. There were so many uncertainties, again, fear of the unknown. It’s hard to adopt healthy young kids. I questioned what if he had health problems, mental health problems? What if he had special needs? It would disrupt our family. He would look different than my children. My biological kids might not like it. My spouse doesn’t want to. I don’t want to, I don’t feel called to these literally straight from my journal, full transparency. These are thoughts that went through my head to go back to the original question. Then why did we initially decide to adopt what was the catalyst? What was the initial trigger that even got me thinking maybe we should adopt? What was it? I could say that according to UNICEF, there are over 153 million orphan children in the world today, but that was not it. I could mention that in the United States, there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system. And over 25% of them are waiting to be adopted of those a hundred thousand children, 32,000 of them. We’ll wait for the next three years for someone to officially bring them home. That wasn’t it. Either. I could quote the scripture verse from James 1 27 that says religion that is pure and unfiled before God, the father is this to visit orphans and widows in their affliction. As convicting as that is, it was not initially what led me to consider adoption. I could humbly point out that within the evangelical Christian Church, 38%. Of Christians reported that they had strongly considered adopting, but only 5% actually did devastating, but that was still not the reason that I initially considered adopting. So what was the initial reason that I considered adopting this? Is it in full transparency? I did not feel like being pregnant. I did not feel like being pregnant again. That is where it started. Some of you might say that sounds like a really bad reason to adopt. And let me tell you, I thought so too, Zach and I always knew that we wanted four children, but after I had had Lillian, I’ll never forget it. I remember the distinct difference bringing her home from the hospital and thinking like, oh, I don’t know if I can do that again. When we brought Gracie home. After the delivery. I remember thinking I am so glad that I’m not done yet that I get to do this again after Caleb. Same thing. I remember having the thought, huh? I’m so glad that I get to do this again. I’m glad I’m not done yet, but with Lily, for some reason, it just felt different. For whatever reason for myself. I remember thinking like, oh, I don’t know if I can do this again. The whole pregnancy thing again, the whole delivery thing again, breastfeeding again, all of that. I just remember thinking like, whew, a fourth time. Hmm. Having to sort of gear myself up. Now, let me put in a word here for those of you who would give anything to get pregnant even one time or to get pregnant and be able to see the pregnancy through, to hold a child in your arms. I fully recognize that I cannot empathize with you in full disclosure. I got pregnant very quickly, very easily. In fact, in full transparency, I got pregnant on the first shot all three times one cycle. When I got pregnant all three times. I cannot empathize that being said, whew, I have wept with women in the emergency department as I delivered their 12 week old fetus. And I held that baby in my hand and I saw toes and fingers and arms and legs. I have wept with many of you who cannot maintain a pregnancy and will give anything to be pregnant and hold a biological child in your arms. I say that only to say that I sympathize. I know the struggle is very real for many of you. And I do not take my own three biological children lately at all. They are such a gift, but please don’t stop listening yet because what may sound like a bad reason to adopt from the start is the fact that. It’s not the end and in my life knowing Jesus means we never finish where we started. Hallelujah and amen. So what may have been a bad reason to start was perhaps just God using my own story, my own struggle to ultimately write a different chapter than what I would have initially. For me, it started with this feeling like, I don’t think I can do this again. I did not ever feel good being pregnant. I was pretty sick with my girls. I had some rough deliveries with my girls and the fact is, come time. Number four. I just did not feel peace about getting pregnant again for me, that’s where it started. And I was so indecisive because I did not feel a passion for adoption. We’d always supported it. We are very passionate about supporting orphan care through adoption, but I personally did not feel passionate about adopting. So if that’s where you’re starting, if that’s where you’re at right now, maybe you’re struggling with infertility. Maybe you’re just thinking like, yeah, I think we would like one more child, but I don’t know if I wanna get pregnant again. We would consider adoption, but I just don’t feel that strongly about it. Listen, there are some of us who were in the exact same. Exact same position. Okay. Some people felt passionate about adopting a child from when they were a little girl from when they were a little boy. They’ve always wanted to do it. That wasn’t my story. So if you’re there, hang in there because that wasn’t my story either. However, there was one thing very clear to me. I needed to pause and pray because I was so indecisive about what to do. there was nothing more. To Zach, my husband or myself that this required some serious prayer. Then the fact that I felt so indecisive, because any of you who know me, and maybe you’ve been able to figure this out, even just by hanging out here with me on the podcast will give a Hardy amen to the statement that indecisive has never, probably not one time by anyone been used to describe my personality. I am many things. But I am not an indecisive person. I am a move forward, rarely glance back 10 steps ahead. Own the process. Don’t regret the past type of personality. I decided on a col on a college without visiting any . I have two master’s degrees in a career. I swore I would never enter for the first 18 years of my life. That is a true story. I went into medicine swearing for the first 18 years of my life. I would never ever be a. Story for a different time. Now I have two masters, 20 letters behind my name that has to do with nursing. I chose the second of two wedding dresses I tried on indecisiveness is not my thing. It is not my thing. However, I am guided by a power. I. In my life, a spirit, a supernatural spirit in my life. That is as real as my decisively genetic disposition. When I accepted Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible to be my Lord, to be my hope that extends beyond this world. He gave me his holy spirit, a living supernatural counselor that dwells within my heart, in my soul, the spirit part of my being and guides me in accordance. With his own character and his own heart and consequently his will for my life, perhaps the greatest testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ exists and his holy spirit is alive and well in me and in my life is the fact that I can have my mind on something and then change it just like that and feel complete peace about it, especially when it means something like apologizing because I’m wrong. There is nothing in my makeup that predisposes me to humility, submission or apologizing. And if Zach were here, he would give a Hardy. Amen. Trust me. Jesus is. Switching from an English major to a nursing major a few months before college, for example. Yes, Jesus is real. Sometimes I am convinced that these stories in our life, the impossible is made possible simply so that Jesus has the opportunity to show up and make his presence known. I could give you story after story of this being true in my life. Adoption was no exception, Zach and I have supported the care of orphans through adoption ever since we’ve been married at something I’ve always felt passionately about supporting when other people are adopting and we supported it, you know, actually spending time working in orphanages, him and Guatemala, myself and Peru, we financially supported others. And I’ve always believed that although adoption is a wonderful thing, it’s not necessarily a wonderful thing that everyone should do. However I do believe it is a wonderful thing that more people are called to do than actually do. And this is why I’m sharing my story today to help you feel empowered to adopt yourself. So I started to pray when I just don’t know when I don’t have the answers. I do research. I still take steps forward, but ultimately I pray and I ask God to show me his will. I asked him specifically to either give my mama’s heart, my heart, complete peace about getting pregnant again, or to clearly break my heart for adoption to show me really clearly. What I was supposed to do. And you guys, he broke my heart. It was January of 2019. I had just started blogging a couple months before. And part of that process was following other bloggers. Just trying to get more familiar with people who are kind of in my niche, following bloggers and kind of how they did the whole blogging process. One of the blogs I came across that I really loved and kind of resonated with her heart was a blog called mix and match mama.com. The author and owner is Sheshaw. And she was one of the first bloggers that I actually followed. Y’all remember, I didn’t even know what a blog was before I started blogging. Also a true story. so I just started following her a couple months prior. And if I recall it was January 15th, I think was the actual data could be wrong about that. She would know, but she shared the gotcha day that they first met their daughter Ashby. Who’s adopted from China on Instagram. She shared the day that their little girl first met. Her forever family in this Chinese orphanage. And God just decided that he would use Ashby Shell’s gotcha. Day to bring another orphan home. I watched this video, I was standing in our kitchen of our second fixer upper of the sweet, terrified little girl being put into the arms of her forever family. I think, I think she was just being handed from the Chinese caregiver to. To share. And for whatever reason, the Lord chose this moment to break my heart. And I started sobbing. I started sobbing. My heart felt like it was being torn into and okay. I’m a crier when it comes to like sentimental things like people, otherwise I’m actually very even keeled. I’m not super up and down. I get emotional, like watching up in Tarzan, seriously people. What is it with kids movies? Oh, my. I think I cry in up more than any movie I’ve ever seen. what is the deal? Kids’ movies are the worst, but the fact is I was suddenly instantly flooded with this sense of my heartbreaking that our child is out there and he would not be of my womb and that God would lead us to him. If we were willing. And I just kept thinking, I just kept thinking of this child who had been pre-destined for our family before he was even in his mother’s womb, in his biological mother’s womb out there in the world one day. And I suddenly felt like I was jumping out of my skin desperate to find him. It’s so hard to explain it was this feeling that was an out of body experience, which is maybe another word for a supernatural experience. And in the midst of these tears, I was struck with another reality, this supernatural reality, this knowledge that I was instantly given that told me if we chose not to adopt it was actually we, who would miss out on the blessing. I had had this incorrect idea of adoption that I realized in this moment, in my head, what a wonderful thing it was to give a child a home. And yes, that is true. But this reality, this truth has been confirmed over and over again across the last four years. Since we have started this process, since I have talked to families and heard their stories time and time again, this truth has been solidified and it’s this adoption, the power of it is less about transforming a child’s life. More, so about how the life of that child transforms everyone else. It is less about the way the life of that child is transformed more about the power of how that child’s life transforms. Everyone else. I realized that we had this opportunity to be part of an incredible story and that even though I couldn’t see. It was actually I, who would be changed the most, the blessing that this child would become to me. and I lost it all over again. I was crying all over again. I mean, I pretty much sobbed on and off for a solid two hours. Like, like the yucky ugly, crying, heart wrenching, crying. I would collect myself, go back to the kitchen and I’d start all over again. oh, my kids thought I had lost it. And the truth is I had. I had, I had lost my preconceived idea of what our family would look like. I had lost my plans for our future. I had lost that feeling of indecision and was instead filled with a glorious piece, a piece that was nothing short of supernatural, despite the overwhelming uncertainty, the uncertainty of how to raise the funds. How to decide on which country at the time I had no idea. Do we do it domestically? Do we do it, you know, internationally, how to pick an organization, how to determine what medical problems we can handle, but there was peace ODA know, Jesus. There was peace. And that was the beginning. That was the beginning. Now I also wanna point out that that’s not the beginning for everybody. Everyone’s story is different. You may not get that supernatural experience you guys. Oh my goodness. I can think of so many moments in my life where I have begged for that kind of clear supernatural answer. And I haven’t gotten it. I’m grateful in this case that we did, but I also wanna encourage you that sometimes it is just taking the next step forward. Just take the next step forward. You have tried it all worried. You will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed. Want to achieve fat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire food groups from your diet. Well, now you can, in the virtual faster way to fat loss with Anna, my six week fitness nutrition program, you will learn how to pair effective 30 minute workouts with all natural evidence based nutritional strategies to leverage what you eat. And when you eat to reset your metabolism and burn fat fast, even that stubborn belly fat, I am a dual certified nurse practitioner passionate about teaching sustainable strategies to promote fat loss and prevent disease. I have cheered on thousands of clients who have done just that with the faster way program in my six week program, the average client currently sheds seven inches of body. 93% report, more energy and 89% state that their mental health has improved 100% of clients report. They feel this program is sustainable. Curious to try the program, but not sure if the strategies will work for you. Try the faster way strategies for free head to www.hammersandhugs.com and sign up for my free seven day fat. Accelerator course today and start your own transformation story. A couple questions that we have gotten a lot since those initial steps rewind. I apologize. Fast forward, not rewind fast forward. You know, about three and a half years now, and we’re on this side of it. Um, how are your children adjusting to the idea of adoption? This is a frequently asked question that I. I could tell you so many stories, but interestingly, Caleb has always been the quickest to embrace it. I mean, truly embrace it from the standpoint of what it means to bring a child into our home. I will never forget again. We were in our, in our other house and he was playing in his room with toys and I walked in his room. We were talking about something and he looked up at. He was probably, he was probably four, maybe five years old. And he said, mommy, I can’t wait to share all my toys with my baby brother. And I just remember having the thought he gets it. I remember instantly tearing up and just thinking he gets it. He gets it. And from a spiritual standpoint, as a Christian, it made the Bible come alive to me in a way I’ve never really thought about, you know, we believe that Jesus died on the cross when he rose again, he now offered us ultimately the same. Place in heaven as himself. Meaning he gave us this inheritance to everything that should have only belonged to a perfect God, but in his grace and in his mercy, he’s basically giving us inheritance to everything that he has peace, hope eternity in heaven. And I just had this instant sense that like, oh my word, this is what it means to be adopted into God’s family. Like this is the greatest adoption story of all is when I came to know Jesus. There was no greater adoption story in my own life. And he just demonstrated that. I mean, Jesus literally spoke to me through my five year old son, Caleb. And just to see Caleb’s heart, like, this is exactly what God did for me. Caleb hasn’t even met his baby brother yet. And in his little five year old mind, He already has access to all of his toys. Like he has inheritance to every now. We’ll see when, right when we actually bring him home. how Caleb feels about sharing all of his toys in his room, but it just, it spoke to me. I thought like he gets it, like he gets this Caleb also another sweet story that some of you may or may not know when he was again younger. I think he would’ve been about five. He asked me one day sitting at the countertop, sitting at the island. In our third fix upper, by this point, he and Gracie said, what will our baby brother look like? And I thought, this is a great time to have this conversation. You know, he’ll have brown skin. He’ll probably have dark black hair and Samoa. They have beautiful, thick, dark hair. And a lot of the men end up wearing it long, which is part of their part of their culture. And so I showed pictures. Online of Samoan boys and men, just to give them some sense of here, here is what this ethnicity tends to look like. And Caleb noticed that a lot of the men had their hair long. A lot of the boys grew out their hair and he said, oh, all the boys have long hair. I wanna grow my hair long so I can look like my baby brother. . And I challenged it a couple times. I was like, you wanna grow your hair out long? And he said, yeah, like my brother, the funny thing is at the time, like in reality, his baby brother wouldn’t have even had long hair because it takes quite some years for that hair to grow out like that. But what spoke to my heart is that Caleb. In his little mind, he didn’t look at these pictures and see the differences and the challenges that that could present. He didn’t see skin color that his brother would have a different skin color and instantly think of all of the potential challenges that could exist because of that. He didn’t see the cultural differences and think, oh, I don’t know how I’m gonna relate to. Brother of mine. He instantly found a way that he could relate by growing his hair long to look like his brother. And it was, again, one of these moments where I thought, man, I overcomplicate things. Sometimes I overcomplicate things sometimes at the end of the day, we just simply need to find ways that we can relate. And because we are all human, there is always a way that you can relate to somebody else, regardless of all of the differences, because we’re human. And we all experience fear insecurity, joy laughter hurt love. Right. And that’s was just like, he saw a way he could relate to his baby baby brother by growing out his hair. So we did, we grew it out. It became quite a conversation statement. He actually had. To our surprise, beautiful thick blonde hair. Caleb actually has really beautiful hair when it’s long. However, I got so sick of trying to take care of my six year old’s hair. It just was, I was over it. So anyways, the bottom line, we did let it grow long. And then eventually we cut it because I was like, look, you can grow. Out again, if you want to, when you’re older, but this is a little much to take care of and we ended up cutting it. I wrote a blog post. It is on the email@example.com kind of outlining his hair journey. And I remember thinking this is so silly to write an entire blog post about his hair. And then I went through it and then I showed all the pictures after he got it. Cut. You guys. It was one of the top opened posts of the entire year . Um, I had so many of you write to me and say how much it meant to you to read this story and to see, you know, how adoption is affecting our family. Even something as simple as growing out hair and cutting. So, if you wanna check out Caleb’s hair saga, you can certainly visit it hammers and hugs.com. See all of the pictures we did eventually end up cutting it. But the amazing thing is kids. They just own it. They own it. And Lily and Gracie instantly started drawing pictures of our family for school and it had four kids. It was. Mommy daddy siblings. And then our baby brother, like we, as the adults are the ones that make it so cerebral, we make it more challenging. I know there will be challenges when we bring him home. I embrace that. I recognize that that’s part of life, but to be completely honest in my experience, children are quicker to embrace it because in their mind, here’s a child that doesn’t have a home. Why not bring him home to ours. So our children have done extremely well. We are very, very excited for them to actually meet him. We’re excited to meet. And it’s been an amazing conversation as we have continued to talk about, um, you know, the racial piece and racial diversity and culture. And I mean, I could tell you so many stories of the way that we are seeing prayers answered in ways that we’re trying to learn more about the Simone culture, make connections. It’s been incredible. We are always looking for ways to learn more about the Simonean culture and how we can be incorporating it into our home for when we bring him home. Another question that we often get is how did you choose the Pacific island of Samoa? When we first decided that we were going to adopt internationally, we were incredibly overwhelmed. Again, it’s like, how do I know where to start? And when we finally figured out international, we got excellent advice to try to pick a country that you feel like you could organically incorporate their culture into your home. Meaning, try to find a country that you can relate to if you have some experience. So for Zach and I, central south America quickly came to mind. I lived in Peru. I have a lot of Spanish, I should say, central American family members. Zach spent a lot of time in Guatemala anyway, central south America is what initially came to mind. So we found an organization that had a heavy presence in central and south America. And the very first program we were accepted into was Honduras. The very first week that we had our interview, we found out that Honduras had just closed adoption to any children, less than seven. And it was very eye opening and humbling. We realized, wow, like things can change on a dime countries. Can do that. They can just like that close. What about the people who were waiting anyway? It was very eye opening. It was a, it was probably good for us to start that way. The next country. That this agency worked with, that had children with the criteria we were looking for specifically a younger boy without severe disabilities was Samoa. After that, it would’ve been Haiti. That was really how we landed on Samoa. We actually, Honduras was the country we were specifically going for initially, and then they closed adoption to less than seven. So we couldn’t stay in that program. So we went to Samoa. And then, like I said, after that, it would’ve been Haiti. So that was really how we ended up landing on smoke. We’re thrilled though. There’s so much about the culture, that it is just been amazing to see already how we are connecting with the culture. And we are, we’re thrilled to be able to bring the Simonean culture, the Polynesian culture into our home. So if you have any resources, please drop them in the comments. Share with me. If you have any type of Polynesian connections or connections. Or educational resources on Samoa. We would, we embrace all of them. Recipes. We’ll take it all. We will take it all. So that’s how we ended up with the country of Samoa question. Do you get anxious about the finances and how are you raising money? This is the number one reason people don’t adopt, even if they heart is there and they want to, they’re overwhelmed by the finances and you guys. I get it. It is overwhelming. There are so many fundraising platforms out there though. And I’ll tell you, the people who are most passionate about supporting adoptive families are adoptive families. We are passionate about it because it is one of the most incredible experiences. And so there are all kinds of ways to raise funds and a couple that we have done a company called bonfire. We made t-shirts for our adoption. We also made t-shirts for the. Adoption gala that I hosted here locally, the black tie affair, you can search that on my blog adoption gala. You can see what it was all about. It was sponsored by local businesses. Absolutely incredible. We’re hoping to do something like that again, in the future. Once my life has settled down a little bit, I will also include a link in the show notes for those t-shirts. If any of you would like to buy a cute, comfortable t-shirt it does support our adoption. And I think, I think they’re pretty cute. Gona coffee. You guys. Y’all know how passionate I am about coffee. I might mention it in every single podcast episode. Let’s be honest. It comes out all the time. my love and obsession for coffee truly. And honestly, though, gona coffee was initially a fundraiser for our adoption. It still is. If you buy any coffee products from this link, I’ll include it in the show notes again, from gona coffee, we get 50% of the proceeds go towards our adoption costs. It is truly some of the best coffee though I have ever had. In fact, I started drinking coffee black. Once we bought a grind and brew coffee maker and we ground fresh coffee beans every morning from Goa coffee. Even when we are done raising the funds for our own adoption, we will continue to buy coffee from go. It is that good? So gona coffee, there are so, so many, so many. Ways to raise money. One of my intentions at some point is to actually create a page on my blog that is strictly a resource page to adopt funds, to adopt funds, glory. I need more coffee. Where’s my coffee. to raise funds for adoption. It’s overwhelming. Yes, but it can be done. It can be done. And the resources are out there. There is so much support because we are so passionate, adoptive families are more passionate than anybody that I know and are more generous than anyone I know to help other families bring children home. So if you are concerned about raising finances, email me, I will send you resources. I’ll give you some ideas. You’re not alone. You’re not alone. Please. Don’t let that be the reason that you don’t, when will you bring your son home? Currently, the adoption update is this COVID very much slowed down the process for everybody who’s adopting or was in the process of adopting. We are told the update we should be matched. That means that based on all of the preferences that we described, which has to be done when you’re updating it’s different. When you are adopting, I should say it’s different depending on the country. But you do have to specify certain things. And our son will be two to five years old. It’ll be a boy, two to five years old when we’re matched. It literally feels like you’re ordering on Amazon. You wrestle with some guilt. You feel like what? I shouldn’t have to be. It’s part of it. It’s part of it. And it’s better than not bringing a child home. Right. You just wrestle with it and. You talk about it and you talk to your primary care provider. Okay. What, what are these diseases? What does this mean? And then you talk about, is this something that we could handle and it is okay to say no, it is okay. It is okay to say no that I, I don’t feel like I can handle this degree of illness or I fill in the blank. Ultimately you’re bringing an orphan home to, to his or her forever family. Just remember that. Remember that changing one life, including your own. So for us specifically, he’ll be two to five. We are told we should be matched sometime next year. That means that the agency that we work with who is working with the care centers in the country we’re adopting from, which is Samoa, when they have a child that matches our criteria. If you will, we will then be matched with. Our family will be matched with him after that, though, it takes a whole nother year for all the paperwork to go through for us to be able to bring him. The follow up question we get a lot is will you take your whole family to go get him? And our answer is yes, we are personally budgeting to take our kids with us. And for me, the reason is one, they will be older and they will understand more of the process. I also want them to have to wrestle with hard things. What I mean by that is this my prayer. My hope is that we will be able to meet other kids who are there in the orphanage. Who gets me just talking about it, who don’t have families yet. And I want them to grieve that. I want them to understand that these hard realities exist, but look at the difference that can be made, right? Like we’re there to bring our brother, our son home and give him a home. I want them to have to wrestle with this reality to feel this reality, that there are kids who will still stay there, who don’t have a family to come home to. And I pray that God uses that however, he will in their lives, whether they, you know, then feel and remember that and choose to adopt themselves. But regardless, maybe they will just choose to be a part of bringing more children home to their forever family. So. One, I want them to be part of the process. I want them to be in his culture. I want them to see when we say that he’s from Samoa. I don’t want it to just be like, you know, sort of this story that they’ve heard. I want them to be able to picture what Samoa was actually like the island, the care center that he came from. I want them to be part of the process. So we are budgeting to. Take our kids along with us, for people who wonder how that works. We do not get reimbursed for that. The adoption funds that we raise. Only cover Zach and I, and then our son. And that’s typical. Any children that you bring with you would not typically be reimbursed by adoption funds for anyone wondering the specifics. So, yes, they will come with us. It’s going to be a wild ride, but I just pray that God uses it in their lives. However he will, however he will. And that we’ll also have the chance to love on the other kids that are there. And use us in any way that he can to also just bring some joy and hope to their lives as well. If you have an adoption story, I’m gonna, I’m about to end it here with my prayer for our son that I wrote, uh, four years ago. But if you have an adoption story and you would love to share it on the podcast, whether you’ve been adopted, you know, somebody who’s been adopted, everyone’s story is so different. And again, my, my desire is to. Shed more light on adoption to take away some of the fear of the unknowns. And there’s some hard stories, guys. There’s some hard stories. Adoption is not easy. There’s some really hard stories. I’ve already shared some on my podcast. Be sure to scroll through and look for them. The Zimmerman family adoption story, the bomb burger multi-generations of adoption multiracial adoption is truly an incredible and incredible story. You can search for that here on the podcast as well. Bomb burger. Adoption story. Um, Jenny Swisher, so many different stories. Please listen to them. Be encouraged. Everyone’s story is different though. Everyone’s story. Some involve a lot of tears and heartache, but right. This is life. This is life and we, we don’t want to shy away from, from the hard realities that exist. I would love to hear your story though. Maybe we will be able to have you on the podcast, email, Anna hammers and hugs dot. A H a hammers and hugs.com for my team to take a look at, share a little bit of your story. And, um, maybe you would be a good fit to come onto the podcast and encourage other people to bring another orphan home to their forever family. I will end with this prayer for our son cannot wait to pray this over him in my arms. My sweet little boy. There is so much that I do not know about you yet, but one thing I know for sure, Jesus created your inmost being, he will knit you together in your mother’s womb. I praise him because you will be fearfully and wonderfully made the works of the Lord are so wonderful. And I know that full well because they will bring me to you. Your body will not be hidden. And although you may feel alone, Jesus sees you all of your days have been ordained. By your creator and have been written in the book of life before you have even drawn breath, how precious and abundant are the thoughts of Jesus. When you wake, he will be with you until I can hold you in my arms written based on Psalm one. 39 love mommy. Thanks for listening to this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts from today. Head to your preferred podcasting platform and give the show an honest review and let me know what you think. Remember, you cannot be redefined only redeveloped one imperfect day at a time. Your story matters and you are loved.