Friday, March 16, 2012

A Grant Story

Here is a story from one of our grant families:

"In Aug 2011 we were “matched” with an expecting birth mother in SC who was due with a baby girl in Oct. The match happened almost immediately after our home study paperwork was complete, and we were overjoyed! Long story short, the adoption fell through on Oct 3rd and we were heartbroken. So since October, we have been waiting to be re-matched; the wait seemed like forever because we were hurting so much, and we were definitely discouraging at times. Because of the previous adoption that fell through, we lost a big chunk of our adoption funds which made it pretty much impossible to pursue another situation, even though we would hear of potential situations weekly.

So we started looking into foster care within the past month, and came across two separate situations involving toddlers. We felt our hearts drawn to them and we prayed and prayed that if that was the direction that God wanted us to go that He would make it VERY clear by either opening or closing those doors in a very obvious way. We were willing and we have a heart for foster children but as young, first time parents we also didn’t want to get in over our heads. So we prayed that, and about a week later we received a wonderful and unexpected phone call, telling us that we would be receiving a large grant towards our adoption! We had applied for this grant already and had not been selected because we were not matched with a child at that time. They called and said that they had reevaluated our situation and decided to make an exception because they felt God putting us on their hearts! WOW!! We were beyond thrilled to be receiving the blessing of this grant, but because of the low cost of adopting from foster care we knew we wouldn’t need it if that was the direction we went.

We continued to pray for God to make things clear, and specifically prayed that if it was better for us to adopt a baby and not a toddler, that He would allow an immediate situation with a baby to come up for us, and just a few days later… He DID!

On Dec 31st around 10:00pm we were at home and I was checking my email. We are part of an online adoption group that sends emails out about potential adoption situations as they arise, and we had an email from them that had been sent just minutes before about a baby boy in a hospital in SC who had been born that morning and needed a family. Not a lot of details were given, but we were on the phone with the contact person within minutes and everything that happened from there was a blur… Lots of phone calls and emails until after midnight, lots of praying and pacing the house late into the night, scrambling around and packing, just in case we got the green light to go. Because of it being a holiday and so late at night, we didn’t get our “green light” until the morning. We slept a few hours (maybe, barely) and the next morning we left for the hospital in SC around 9:00am. Longest 3 hour drive of our lives!!

We got to the hospital around noon, and we waited and waited and waited in the waiting room for at least 45 minutes for the adoption lawyer’s assistant, who was already there, and was supposed to meet us as soon as we got there. We had no idea at the time why she was delayed, but it turned out it was because another lady was going to adopt Corban but had already changed her mind the day before, so the hospital had already called social services and a very unpleasant social worker was pressuring the birth mother to let social services take the baby. The birth mother remained very firm in her adoption decision and when the social worker left we were brought back to meet the birth mother and baby.

I don’t want to keep saying “the birth mother” because it sounds so impersonal, but I don’t really want to put her actual name on something this public either because I want to respect her privacy, so I will call her “Kay.”

We walked into the hospital room with the adoption layer’s assistant and she introduced us to “Kay.” Kay was smiling and she hugged me tight and handed me her baby and said “This is your son!” I think we were all speechless for the first few minutes and choked back tears. We spent the next 5 hours visiting with Kay until she was discharged and left the hospital. The time we had with her was wonderful; she told us about herself, her family, the baby’s birth and her situation; she is young (younger than us), lives with her mother and already has other children to care for. She felt very strongly that she wanted her son to grow up with two parents, and especially with a father. It was obvious that she loved her baby and cared about him deeply, but she wanted him to have what her other children didn’t… a daddy. We greatly admire her for her unbelievable strength and selflessness in this situation; I don’t think she stopped smiling the whole time. Kay gave us her contact information so we could keep in touch with her, and she left the hospital that evening. We were later told that on her way home she kept saying over and over “He has a dad…” “He has a dad!”

We went back to the hospital nursery to see our new son. We were told at first that the plan was for us to stay the night in the hospital with him, since he would be discharged the following morning, but things didn’t go as planned… Because of all kinds complicated hospital policies, we weren’t able to hold Corban again until he was discharged the next morning. We watched him through the nursery window for a few hours while things were trying to be worked out for us to have him that night, but when it became clear that the hospital couldn’t really do anything, we went to a hotel across the street for the night. I slept for a few hours and was wide awake for the day by 4:30am. I have since had at least 3 other people tell me that they woke up at the same time that morning praying for Corban… We got to the hospital around 8:00am and Corban was discharged a few hours later after his final medical exam.

Because of SC law, we had to stay in the state until the end of the week until the inter-state paperwork for the adoption was complete. During our stay in SC, Corban met his Grandma Teri, his Aunt Meghan and his future Aunt Cheryl, who came to visit. Also, his “Nina” Karin and his Aunt Jessica flew in from TX and stayed with Corban and I for the remainder of the week since Ben had to return to NC for work. On Friday we got clearance to leave the state and came HOME!

Life with precious little Corban is amazing, and we’re all adjusting well. He is eating great, gaining weight and sleeping very well so far. We are SO beyond blessed and SO in awe of the might God that we serve!!!" ~written by Lauren and Ben Hillman


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vote for the Cutest Kid and Support Caroline's Promise!

We are excited to be a part of Forget Me Not Photography's 2012 Cutest Kid Contest. During the month of February this contest raised $450 for Caroline's Promise! The fun has just begun! From March 1 - 7 you can vote for the cutest kid and donate ($1 - $100) to Caroline's Promise.
Spread the word and thanks for your support!

Check out all the cute kids at Forget Me Not Photography!

Concert at SWU to Benefit Haitian Children

Attention South Carolina readers! (And North Carolina! And Georgia and Tennessee, and anywhere close by!) We have a great opportunity coming our way next weekend!

"David Wimbish and the Collection, an indie/folk band from Greensboro, N.C., is coming to Southern Wesleyan University in a concert, March 9 at 8 p.m., to help Haitian children realize the dream of a better home.

The benefit concert for Okipe, a children’s home in Haiti will be held in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center on the university’s campus in Central. The concert is being hosted by Southern Wesleyan’s Student Government Association. Admission is a $5 donation at the door.

Starting the night off will be a performance from Southern Wesleyan students Carissa McKinney and Eric Moxley, along with Palmer Dill, a Southern Wesleyan religion graduate.

Proceeds from the concert will go towards construction of a children’s village in Haiti, which will allow the children to live in smaller, family-oriented groups of eight to 10 with a house parent.

After a major earthquake devastated Haiti Jan. 12, 2010, approximately 15 percent of children were left orphaned or abandoned. Located in La Gonave, Haiti, Okipe started with 20 children, and has grown to 75 – all housed in one building, according to Stephanie Sestito, a Southern Wesleyan student and an organizer for the event.

For details, contact Sestito by emailing steph.sestito@gmail.com or visit the event page on Facebook by entering “The Collection at SWU” in the search box.'

(taken from the Southern Wesleyan University Press release)

Join us in this great opportunity to enjoy a fabulous concert AND make a life-changing impact for those devastated by the Haitian earthquake.