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Friday, February 8, 2013

We are officially "PREGNANT"!!!

Well, it's official!! We are on the waiting list!! We could be "pregnant" for 3 months, 9 months, 1 year or just weeks!! God is the only one who knows and we couldn't be more thrilled!! The letter came at the perfect time, when we needed some good news, and both of us had a sigh of relief that all our hard work to get things ready was accomplished. 

We are thankful that Vanderbilt gave the adoption agency confidence that we were capable of caring for a child even through our circumstances.  We are excited to see what's to come and it's unreal to think that we could be parents THIS YEAR!!

Needless to say, we got to get going on our fundraising and I will be a grant applying fool in the next few weeks.  There are different deadlines for different organizations and I want to meet all their criteria.  Keep your eyes open for a fundraising event coming up and any handy work you may need done Daniel is up for hire!!  We got a baby to bring home!!

Please pray for us as we prepare for this life changing time:

--Pray that our baby is perfectly matched with us and that we have time to process the arrival.

--Pray that we can raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption and that we are not offered a child and not have the funds ready to go. (No money, No baby)

--Pray as we get the nursery ready that is doesn't sit too long unoccupied.

--Pray that we get some more home renovations done and last minute projects done so that when the baby comes we aren't scrambling to finish, but enjoy the first moments with baby.

--Continue to pray for my health and that I continue to feel good and am able to celebrate and be JOYFUL through all of this, instead of feeling a dark cloud of fear of when the transplant may take place. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Finding Joy Through The Pain

Hello Friends,

       It's been awhile since I've posted anything in regards to the adoption or our lives in general, unfortunately there is a reason.  As you know, we were checking off our "to do" list like nobody's business when it came to the adoption process.  We finished our paperwork, ordered our profile books, did some home renovations, had our home study meeting in the home and then as soon as the hope our home study approval was about to be celebrated we got news that made everything come to a screeching halt.

       Some of you know that in 2005, right after I moved to TN, I was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease.  This was a hard blow, but really it did not affect my day to day life.  I continued to work, married Daniel, and have lived a "normal" life.  As the years have progressed, my kidney function has slowly declined and every doctor appointment became a little more and more grim.  Conveniently, the day I found out that my kidney function was bad enough to be referred to Vanderbilt Transplant team was the same day our home study meeting was in our home.  Needless to say, I was not "dealing" well and showed my emotions to our adoption coordinator.  That in turn made the agency put our approval on hold.  It wasn't a no, it was just a wait and see after my appointment.   

       My appointment at Vanderbilt was January 11th and overall it was a VERY positive experience.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but the transplant team has a positive outlook on things and made me feel at ease.  The fact still remains, I need a kidney and I will have a transplant eventually, but it's God who is gonna guide us as to when that will happen.  The hope is my numbers will improve and my surgery will be postponed for awhile.  But the prayer is that the right donor will come forward in the perfect time when I will need the transplant, before dialysis.  The process is long, I won't even be on the waiting list for 3-6 months and then after that if no live donor is a match for me the waiting list is 2-3 years, but God is good and faithful.  Life continues on, I'm still working and we are still living a "normal" life.  Daniel and I are finding JOY even though 2012 was hard, we are hopeful for 2013.  We TRUST that if it's God's will we will be parents this year.

      In relation to the adoption, I talked with the doctor and he was very supportive of us being able to continue to pursue the adoption.  He will write a letter for the agency and hopefully we will be approved and then be able to move on to fundraising for our future child.  There is a lot of uncertainty in our life, but I believe that is what every one of us has to experience, fear of the unknown.  We may not know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future.

      The prayers would be:
           -The letter would be written and sent in a timely manner to the adoption agency from the doctor.
           -My numbers would improve and it would be a good delayed process.
           -The people who feel led to donate would come forward and that someone would be a match.
           -I will continue to feel well and not have to go on dialysis before finding my match.
           -Daniel and I will find strength from each other and support each other through the adoption and transplant process.
           -Our future child would be determined and our hopes to be parents are realized.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 years!!!

I was supposed to publish this post back in August...oops.  Daniel and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary during a weekend away in Alabama.  It was perfect, no agenda, no plans, just time away to relax.  Our bed and breakfast was awesome!! We will definitely be going back sometime soon.  Both of us were able to relax and just spend time with each other.  We even had a picnic lunch in a tree house!  Both of us have a hard time believing that it's been 5 years, but we are blessed beyond measure! So thankful for our marriage and what it means to both of us. 


Let's get this party started!!!

Well, as some of you may know, we have submitted our application for adoption and have had our first meeting for our homestudy.  We sent our application on September 26th and it was received and processed by the beginning of October.  We had our first meeting on October 11th in Memphis at the Life Choices office.  We had lots of questions and were able to meet the birthparents coordinator and get reacquainted with our adoption coordinator.  They were a wealth of information and we left with LOTS of excitement and LOTS of work on the to do list.  Our next meeting will be #2 and #3 lumped together so we can be done.  That meeting is November 1st.  It's go time people!!  We left with the feeling that this process may not take as long as we thought.  Let's pray for that!!  Here are some requests, praises, and TO DO's on our agenda in the next few weeks.

--The birthparent coordinator shared with us that there is a "deficit" in adoptive families and they are in "need" of more families.  That's good news for us!! They have placed so many babies and have had an influx of birthmothers they need more families to place babies with...the Cone's are happy to oblige! One praise is they have placed 4 babies in the last month, that is very exciting!!
--The birthparent coordinator also shared with us the process of what happens at the hospital and what to expect.  We were able to ask questions and understand the process.  One thing she shared was that when the regular social worker for the hospital is there the adoption paperwork goes much more smooth than during off times.  So the first prayer request would be that our baby would be born from 8am-5pm M-F so that things go smooth, seems like a silly request, but anything that helps our experience is worth prayer!
--The adoption coordinator has decided to lump our 2nd and 3rd meeting together since we are not right there in Memphis, so our next meeting is November 1st!!  She will be coming to our home and doing individual meetings and looking at our home.  We have about 3 weeks to get things ready!! We have LOTS to do, but it's good to have a goal and some fire under our tushes to be ready.  Please pray we will have everything done and ready by time she comes.
--She also looked at our profile book and said it looked good, so I need to finish a few pages and get it printed for our meeting.  Pray that I get over my writers block and finish it up. 
--I mentioned to her about having a fundraiser in Februray and she gave me a look and said that is pretty far out, that comment freaked me out since it's not that far away, but although she can't promise anything she emphasized that we need to be ready with the funds when the baby comes so we may need to have that fundraiser sooner than I thought!! 
--So we have a goal...$13,252.  I share this with you just so you know our need.  Please pray we can get grants, successful fundraisers, and earning all the funds so we can bring that baby home.  No money, no the amount is a little overwhelming but we are trusting God to take care of the need. 
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement and excitement you have for us, we appreciate it!! We have felt the prayers everyone has been giving us, keep them up!! We wouldn't be able to sustain without them. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


C - Career
H - Hardships
A - Accident
N - New Adoption Agency
G - Gratefulness
E - Endeavors

Obviously I haven't written in awhile, life has completely changed for the Cone's!  I thought this blog would primarily be about our adoption experience, but I realize that LIFE happens all around us even as we go through the adoption process, so I thought I might as well catch you up on all the other stuff including our adoption news.


At the beginning of May, I started evaluating my life, my career, and the life Daniel and I had and were planning to have in the future.  I realized that life was just too busy and the constraints put on me and my time were more than I needed or wanted.  Through lots of prayers and tears, I decided to leave JCIL after 7 1/2 years.  The decision was bittersweet, lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into my work while I was there.  I feel like I made a difference and gave of myself, I just didn't feel I could maintain the same level of care when God blesses us with a little one.  This was a big decision, this was the job that brought me to Tennessee, where I met some close friends, this job was the reason I met Daniel.  I wasn't just leaving a job, I was leaving a little bit of myself behind.  Overall, I know it was the right decision and I am grateful for the years and years of memories.  Daniel, of course, has been nothing but supportive and gracious through my ups and downs, doubts, and tears. 


The decision to leave my job was HARD.  Dealing with finances is HARD.  Waiting for our child is HARD. Life is HARD. But, by God's grace with are making it!  Even through the HARD, we are trusting Him and knowing that His mighty hand is taking care of us.


May 25, 2012 was the day my life and the life of my family, particularly my mom, changed forever.  It was a beautiful day, it was the Friday before the holiday, it was a normal day.  Unfortunately, something "not normal" happened that day.  I was working and received a phone call from my mom, I knew it wasn't good, never ever did I expect to hear the words come out of her mouth, but they did.  "Rich is gone, he was on his motorcycle, I need you." I was in shock, didn't know what to do, didn't even know all the details, but we literally threw things in the car and left.  Daniel and I were both in a haze, but 8 hours later we were in IL.  I'm not sure what instinct kicked in, but it was an efficient one and I felt like I was a commander in some kind of secret operation.  I didn't know where we were, how to navigate the task, and how the heck we even got here.  "Uncharted Territory" was the name of the game and I was the one everyone looked to, thankfully I had lots of back up. Looking back, I am so thankful my instincts kicked in and I could be useful.  I was awe struck by the outpouring of love and care that came to my family that week.  I was humbled by the people who not only cared for me, but my mom.  Life is definitely not the same, but we are making it.  Rich will be missed, and we are now living our life in the "new normal". 

New Adoption Agency
In the midst of all the other activities going on, we also changed adoption agencies.  We are now pursuing our adoption through Life Choices of Memphis.  The only place newborns so we are excited about that prospect and the agency is very much on top of things.  Agape was wonderful, but they were not proceeding with the homestudy and did not have any future dates to give us.  From what we heard, it was personnel issues and they didn't have the manpower to pursue paperwork.  They were very gracious and even refunded our application fee.  We have had orientation with Life Choices and now are working on the application.  Our 3-ring binder of papers to go through is a little daunting, but we are trying to make headway.  Daniel is gonna have some homework while I'm gone to IL next week so we can get our application in by the middle to the end of August.  Collecting all the documents needed and filling out so many questionnaire's is very overwhelming, but it's bringing us one step closer to the little one God has for us.  We are trusting Him and know that His timing is perfect, even with the delays.   


Through the last few months, as I reflect all that has happened, I am grateful.  I am grateful for Daniel and the support he has given me, for family and friends encouraging me and giving us guidance, and to God for blessing us and helping us be obedient.  I know Daniel and I could not and can not get through all the challenges life brings without the grace and love from God.  It is not easy, that was never the guarantee, but knowing that we have lots of support definitely helps.  The list of things we are grateful for would be endless, but learning how to trust no matter what the situation is something I am learning to be grateful for everyday.  Unfortunately, it's something I have to be reminded to do everyday.


Now that August is upon us and the fall is fastly approaching, we are gearing up for what's to come.  We are working on our adoption application and will submit that in the next few weeks.  We will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary on August 25th!!!  We will be spending time with family over Labor Day weekend.  My birthday is in September.  We will be doing our homestudy sometime in the fall, then will be officially waiting.  By the time we get through the fall, it'll be the holidays and we will be ringing in 2013.  Time flies and it's hard to believe how fast the year goes, but I think I have learned this year that our time is precious and nothing in this life is guaranteed. Also, the plans we set out don't even compare to the plans God has for us. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Control...I have none.  I don't have control over this process, but God does.  I don't have control over how our life has been so busy with work, but God does.  The only thing I have control over is praying when I feel things are out of control.

Life has been busy, which is a good thing at times, it keeps our minds off of the ever looming question of "What's going on with the adoption process?"  We have been working on the house, keeping busy with work, and just living life as a couple.  But, when it's quiet, we are alone, or kids all around us, we feel like this process is not going fast enough.  I can see the "big picture" prospective and know that eventually we will have children.  There will come a day that I wish I had the quiet time I have now.  I can even wrap my head around the fact that the delay is because of God's timing.  But, it doesn't make the waiting part any easier.

We are so blessed.  We are blessed with great families, great friends, and a wonderful church.  We both have great jobs and truly feel God has given these jobs to us.  We have a good marriage and we even have great dogs.  All this to say, there is nothing we are not appreciative for, we are just aching for our child.  I knew this process was not going to be easy.  I knew it was going to have ups and downs.  But, I was not warned that I would not have any control. (Even if in the way, way back of my mind I kinda already knew)

Most of you know me...the ducks need to be in a row, things have an order, and everything has a place.  Adoption has messed up my ducks.  The row is not how I expected it to be.  My only hope, God knows best.  The agency is doing all it can do.  And I just need to pray and trust.

These are just random thoughts (out of control feelings if you will) that have been on my mind lately.  We are doing just fine.  Life is good to us.  We just want to be mommy and daddy.  BUT, we will carry on.  Working on our profile book and it's coming along very nicely.  I am going to print it this week.  We appreciate you love and prayers and concern.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Anticipation of Waiting

Well, we finished our PATH class on March 1st.  We still need to finish the homework for each session and get all the certificates together and send it in for our file, but for the most part our obligation for Agape's requirement is done!  I have to thank Erica Thomas, our teacher, for being willing to give up her nights with her family to teach us for a pratically one on one basis.  Not only did we feel catered to, but she single handedly saved us $500 and that my friends warrants a free steak dinner! Hope you enjoy Erica! Your passion for children and their safety and care is definitely a great influence!  So glad to have you close as a valuable resource.
I spoke with Agape last week and I was assured that they are working hard to get our home study started.  There are a few other couples ahead of us, but we are ahead of them with PATH classes finished, so I'm not sure how they are going to treat that situation.  The girl I've been in contact with, Carrie, told me she's putting a good word in for us often.  I told her if she needed a bribe that I make a mean blueberry pie!  We are still set to receiving newborn to age 5-6, and she gave us some really encouraging words.  I think she kinda likes us, so I hope that is a plus for us.  They also like seeing a motivated couple, and let me tell you we are MOTIVATED AND EXCITED!!

In non-adpotion news, Daniel and I have been really busy with work.  Daniel has taken some side jobs for friends and we have both started teaching sign language classes.  Our nights get busy, which is hard on us, but we are trying to work as much as we can to save and pay off bills so when little one comes, we are ready to spend the time with him/her.  It always seems time goes by so fast, I can't believe it's already March!    

Also, I'm sure most of you have seen some of our pictures posted around Facebook.  We have some other pictures that haven't been published yet, but most of you will be getting a picture at some point in our process, I am sure.  We had our "photo shoot" on February 26th with Jamie Deaton from W. June Photography.  She was so creative for our "expecting" picture and it was a much needed time to update our photos.  We were thrilled to get the pictures back and were floored at how nice they turned out!!  Thank you Jamie for your expertise and excitement for us while taking our pictures.  The location and the day were perfect!!  It only took us 3 tries! Just a point of clarification, the shoes are actually grey, but up against Daniel's blue shirt they look blue.  We tried to get a "gender neutral" shoe, but just so you know, there is no hidden meaning. ;-)

I just want to thank everyone for all you kind words, prayers, and questions about our process.  It's hard to answer "still in the paperwork process" to everyone, but what I have learned already is that this process is a lot of waiting and we aren't even homestudy approved.  So we are in the anticipation of waiting while we finish all the requirements we need to.  Please don't hesitate to ask, we both love talking about it!!  We are so eager to be parents and I feel God is growing our hearts already for our children.