A year ago, we were working on finishing our home study paperwork. Right now, we're working on renewing our home study. This means that a full year has gone by since we passed and completed our first home study inspection and officially became waiting parents. The state requires that you need to have some of the papers you originally completed done again as things may change within the year. For example, Jackie changed jobs, so we need to disclose our updated financials and have her new school district sign a release of information.

During December, the message series of our church was called "A Thrill of Hope." This is a line from the hymn "O Holy Night."

For the month of December, we talked about hope and what a thrill of hope would be and feel like. Our salvation in Jesus is just a thrill of hope compared to the upmost joy we will have in heaven. Right before Christmas Day, we had a thrill of hope in our adoption process.

We were blessed to receive plane tickets to Florida to spend time with Jackie's family. Our plane tickets had us leaving from Saint Louis (2.5 hours away) on Monday, December 24. On the Thursday before we were to leave, we got a phone call that a cold call family selected to meet us! (If you don't remember what a cold call is, jump to this post for a refresher!)

Throughout this adoption process, we consistently have hope that God will place us with the right people at the right time. But now, we had a thrill of hope. There was an actual chance that our hope would become reality.

We were asked to come up to Saint Louis on Saturday evening to meet the birth parents. We had some idea of what to expect, but we're not sure anyone could be prepared for a meeting like that! It was awkward, and great, and scary, and one of the most interesting meetings we have ever experienced. How can you, in less than an hours time, make a connection deep enough with a couple that they feel comfortable enough to trust you with their child?

During the meeting and afterwards, there are so many thoughts that go through your head.

Am I talking too much?

Did I let them talk enough?

Does my smile look real, or does it look like it's forced?

Did we talk about the right things?

Should I mention my sister is having a baby?

How much can I talk about fishing?

What do I do with my hands?

Can I ask them how and why we all got here?

Is it ok to eat a cookie while we talk?

Do I hug them goodbye?

Due to the timeline, if we were selected, we were not going to Florida, which we were obviously totally ok with. But if we weren't selected, we were headed to Florida. We had no idea what to pack for! We ended up having a Florida bag (and fishing poles) and a "we're getting a baby" go-bag. We've been blessed to have family and friends donate things that if we were to be selected by a family tomorrow, we have the necessary things (carseat, pack and play, diapers, clothes, etc.). It was an incredibly stressful and crazy 48 hours! The following picture is the perfect summary of our Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Sunday, December 23, we drove back up to Saint Louis. We live over two hours from the city and our Florida flight left at 5am. It made sense to get to the city Sunday evening so we could make our flight. We were expecting a yes or no call sometime Sunday in the afternoon. Instead, we got a call that the parents were having a really hard time choosing between us and another family- we'll know in a couple hours.

While unpacking the car in Saint Louis at our hotel, we got the call. The parents had chosen the other family.

Dear friends and loved ones, know this- we are NOT heart broken, devastated, or disappointed. We are not wallowing in the depths of despair or diving into a spiral of depression. Of course we were sad our family would not grow this Christmas, but our life did not end. Instead, we are seeing it as a thrill of hope. 

We were extremely encouraged in this process. Due to this meeting, we know that our profile is being looked at. We are being considered. We're thought about. We are being seen as a family that wants to grow. We're being considered as parents. We are able to continue to have hope that our adoption process will quickly come to a fulfillment of hope.

We know that the Heavenly Father who adopted us into His righteous family at the perfect time will also gift us with a little one in His righteous time. The wait is still hard sometimes.

Florida wasn't a terrible place to regroup and make sure we didn't get stuck pitying ourselves. Alex spent plenty of time fishing, but Jackie ended up being the fishing champ the one day she did go fishing.

As always, we are continually thankful for your prayers, thoughts, support, boxes of baby clothes, and construction on our house.

We're glad to be back in Missouri and are ready for 2019!

Click here to go to our GoFundMe.

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