The Sylvester Family

Gabbings of the Sylvesters

2 weeks ago…. (a little late)

Posted by Joy on June 17, 2015

(I tried to post this several times before going out of town last week.  It is now working.)

Well, if you missed us on Facebook, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

We drove down to Florida on Sunday, May 17th.  We had the privilege of staying with some of our very best friends, David & Kerry & kids, while in Florida for the week.



On Sunday evening, we met our birthmother and a representative from our adoption agency for dinner.  We had great conversation.  The birthmother likes to talk and she really opened up about some of her past without any prompting from us.  The visit seemed to go really well.  The baby’s delivery was a c-section scheduled for Monday around 7:30am.

On Monday, we spent time with David & Kerry’s family just waiting for a picture or call.  Around lunchtime we found out the c-section had been delayed because of other emergency deliveries.  By the end of the day, all we had heard was that the baby was born and healthy.  That was it.  No pictures, no stats.  It was a little frustrating but we were scheduled to visit the following day, so we tried to wait patiently.  We were about to meet up with Joy’s aunt and uncle for dinner and that was such a blessing.

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On Tuesday, Chad’s parents came over from Lakeland to the Orlando area to hang out with us.  We didn’t know what time we would be going to the hospital and didn’t know if the kids would be allowed to visit, so the help of Chad’s parents was super valuable to us.  We spent much of the day at the outlet malls and the Bass Pro Shop trying to keep the kids and ourselves distracted.  We finally got a photo around 2 pm and the stats and were told we could head to the hospital.  At the hospital, Chad’s parents stayed with the kids in the waiting area while we went up to the birthmother’s hospital room with a representative from our agency.  The birthmom was friendly and very talkative, but also a little loopy from pain medication.  She let me (Joy) hold the baby.  She was less than 6 lbs. and only 17 inches long!  So tiny.  I got to hold her for about 5 minutes before the nurse came to take the baby to the nursery for vital checks and to check her for withdrawals.  The birthmother had been on methadone and this can affect the baby.  Methadone is a legal controlled substance to help drug addicts wean off of addictive substances.  Chad never did get to hold the baby.  After an hour or so spent with the birthmother without the baby, I asked if the kids could come up and see the baby.  She thought that might be overwhelming but agreed to let the kids peek through the nursery window at the baby since she was still in the nursery.  She said we could all come back tomorrow.  At this point, the birthmother’s mom came by but wouldn’t stay in the room while we were there.  So, we left and went to get the kids and Chad’s parents to go see the baby through the nursery window.  By the time we all got back upstairs, the baby had been taken back to the hospital room.  Our agency worker asked the birthmother to just bring the baby out real quick and the kids and grandparents got to oh and ah over her.  The birthmom was very gracious and proud.

On Wednesday, we waited for word of when we could go visit.  By lunch time we hadn’t heard anything, so our agency worked to get more info.  We found out at the baby had started experiencing withdrawals during the night and both baby and birthmom had had a miserable night.  She asked us NOT to visit on Wednesday.  We were still okay with that if we could just make it to Thursday.  She was scheduled to sign adoption consents on Thursday at 10:30am.  It was such a blessing to hang out with friends to distract us all Wednesday!

On Thursday, we got to the hospital around 11am and our caseworker and the attorney were waiting downstairs for us.  We knew something was up.  We found out the birthmother had been discharged and had left the hospital before signing.  The baby was still in the nursery because of the withdrawals.  Our agency was sending the birthmother counselor to the birthmom’s home to find out what was going on.  We hung around that end of town for a few hours to see if the birthmom would still sign.

The agency finally got in touch with the birthmom on Friday.  She apologized but said she had a lot of guilt because of the baby having withdrawals and she couldn’t sign the consents.  The agency also found out that her mom was encouraging her to parent.

SO, at this point, she has decided to parent her baby.  We have no idea how this will turn out because she already has 3 kids in foster care.  Please pray that baby girl will grow strong and healthy and that Jesus will transform this brithmom’s life.


We are doing okay.  We are very disappointed that this match did not work out.  We are frustrated that Chad took off a week of work with no resulting adoption match.  We also spent extra money and time updating our homestudy the past few weeks for this adoption because it would expire before this adoption would have been finalized.  We experience feelings of doubt…should we continue pursuing adoption or not.

This failed match is a little different than the past two.  #1-We didn’t have any chance for bonding with this baby.  We barely got to see her.  #2-We have been down this road before and the pain is familiar, but not as devastating.  While we’ve been down this road before, we also have seen God work in an amazing way to bring our sweet O into our family.

At this point, we are waiting expectantly.  We have one homestudy visit this week and then our homestudy will be current for one more year.  So, we might as well finish updating it.  We will see what God wants to do.

Thanks for all your prayer support and love!

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1 week to go?

Posted by Joy on May 13, 2015



Well, the delivery date changed on us a fourth time, yes fourth!  The changes were happening because our birthmother is seeing two different doctors, one regular and one high risk, and they kept saying different things.  So, as the countdown got down to 8 days to go, it got bumped down to 6 days to go.  Our new official date is May 18th and we are pumped!  We will meet baby and birthmom the day after delivery.  The birthmom will sign her adoption consent forms as soon as 48 hours after birth and as late as when she is released from the hospital.  So, in less than one week we will have met our baby girl and in 8 days, she will be in our care (although possibly staying in the hospital due to withdrawals).  After consent is signed, our agency will file the interstate paperwork required for us to bring baby girl back home.  We have been told this could take up to 10-14 business days.

Please pray for us as we go that we would be able to love our birthmother well.  Please pray for strength for us to handle whatever medical condition the baby is in.. though all reports so far indicate healthy, birthmom has used methadone most of her pregnancy.  Please pray for us to trust God no matter what.  It is easy to be nervous that any interaction with the birthmother may cause her to change her mind.  But in reality, anything at all could cause that and we just have to trust God for strength and the ability to do what He has called our family to do.

We are very thankful that we will have enough funds to make our next payment to the adoption agency, which is requested at child placement.  We then will have one final big chunk due before our court date which is around 90 days from placement.


On a completely different topic, A & W finished up homeschooling through Veritas Classical School this week.  This means we have a 6th & 4th grader.  Whoa.  In the fall, they are headed back to public school and they are very excited about that.  Our last day of school easy traditions are putting up a banner like this and letting the kids run through it like football players and letting them watch movies on the sofa as late as the want.  They barely made it to 10pm.  😉


Here are my Mother’s Day photos with my amazing kids.  They really are amazing and I’m so blessed by them!1468499_10152857310851538_480550375551141458_n11207317_10152857310731538_5849503661502079676_n

And here is O “helping” Daddy mow.  He is obsessed with helping and would stay out there the entire time, if let him.  Chad is so gracious to let him help a little bit, but O is so sad when we tell him his time helping is over.  🙂


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2 weeks to go!

Posted by Joy on May 6, 2015

So, we are down to 2 weeks till baby girl’s scheduled delivery.  The date has changed slightly as our birthmother has coordinated with her doctor.  This week’s updates:

-We wrapped up our Krispy Kreme fundraiser.  We are so thankful to all our friends who helped us sell doughnut certificates.  We’ve also had several more direct donations bringing us up to about 55% of our $10,000 fundraising goal.  We have had so many generous folks and we are blessed beyond words by these people.  Please continue to pray for our fundraising and share our story.

-We have been able to run around town and get all our new fingerprints, background forms, inspections, and medical stuff taken care of.  I can’t believe how quickly we were able to complete these items.  This is most of the homestudy update part that is our responsibility, so it is a huge burden lifted to be able to finish this.  We still have a visit to do, but will complete that after we bring baby girl home.

-We have chosen a name for baby girl, but you’ll have to ask us in person to find out what it is!  😉

-We have had lots of ups and downs the past week through this process.  As our countdown got to 11 days to go, we found out we needed to add 5 more days to that.  In the grand scheme of things, that is such a small amount.  But when waiting, any longer amount seems huge.  Then we received an email with scanned ultrasound photos of baby girl and that was so exciting!  Then we found out more details about our birthmother and her wishes regarding the birth, the hospital, the visits, and her living situation.  These were a little discouraging as we have no rights or say about these decisions for the daughter we plan to adopt.

-People keep asking me if we are ready for another baby.  I never know what to say.  Are we ready for middle of the night feedings and juggling a toddler plus an infant?  Probably not…can’t really prepare for that.  Do we have a carseat, diapers, and a place for her to sleep?  Absolutely ready.  Is it hard to wait to meet baby girl?  For sure!  We are already falling in love with a baby we have never even met.  Are we ready to open ourselves up to the broken past of our birthmother, the possible drug withdrawals for baby, the possibility the birthmother could change her mind at any time–but if she does, the baby will go to foster care?  Trying to prepare ourselves, but its hard.  Not feeling ready for these things.  Don’t want to go through the feelings of grief we’ve experienced before.  Don’t know how hard it will be to see baby girl struggle health-wise after birth.  So, we need prayer, Friends and Family.  We know our God is good and we can trust Him.

We love ya’ll!  Thanks for your interest, love, and support!

Posted in adoption, updates | 6 Comments »

3 weeks to go!

Posted by Joy on April 25, 2015

Yesterday marked three weeks till baby girl will be born.  So, time for some updates!

–Our fundraising efforts are moving along.  We will wrap up the Krispy Kreme fundraiser this week.  We expect to have all certificates sold, adding several hundred dollars to our adoption fund.  We’ve had a few donations to Chad’s beard challenge fundraiser and we’ve had several regular old donations.  Our fundraising goal is $10,000 towards this adoption and I’d say we are about 40% there.  We are so thankful for all the generous donors who are partnering with us!

–We found out this week that we need to update our homestudy because it will expire before our final court date.  This is a new procedure and definitely unexpected.  Before, if the homestudy was current prior to placement of the child, then it was fine.  But we definitely don’t want to run into any problems, so we will go ahead with the update.  This will probably cost us an extra $1000 plus a little sanity as we run all over town getting fingerprints, medical forms, drug screenings, TB tests, & financial forms ready to turn in.

–So far, our agency says the birthmother is still confident in her adoption plan.  She likes our family.  Of course, we’ve seen before how things can change at any time.  So, we are excited and preparing, and trusting in Jesus no matter what.

–Some dear friends of our’s live close to where baby girl will be delivered so we are planning to stay with them.  We have been so blessed by them already as they are planning to feed and house us as well as possibly baby-sit the older 3 kids.  They have even rounded up all kinds of donations from their friends….like baby tub, baby wrap, clothes, etc….  We are so overwhelmed by their kindness!

–Our kids are amazing!  We love to hear their hearts for adoption.  They are excited about the new sibling (although O has no clue) and ask great questions.  They are already asking when we can adopt more kids their ages so they can have more playmates.  🙂  They also are willing to sacrifice their summer plans for the sake of this adoption…without even being asked.  We are trying not to change too much on them, but when I told them that this adoption might interfere with one of their summer camps, A said, “Well, I think adoption is more important than that!”  And when hearing that baby girl has birth siblings, they were both eager and wanting to adopt the siblings as well (though that probably isn’t a possibility)!  Love how they love Jesus and adoption!

How can you pray for us?  Pray that we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, that we will trust instead of worry, no matter what.  Pray for funds to come in.  Pray for our precious birthmother and baby girl….healthy delivery and comfort during the hardest time of this lady’s life.

We are so thankful for all your love and support, Family & Friends!

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SAVE THE BEARD! How to Give to Our Adoption Fund…

Posted by Joy on April 8, 2015

If you found our blog because of the SAVE THE BEARD! challenge, here is how you can give:

#1-Click on the button to donate

#2-Hand us a check or cash.

#3-Leave a comment if you want to mail a check and we will connect with you. We appreciate your love and support! If you don’t know what the SAVE THE BEARD! challenge is, watch the video below or read the text of the video following it below. “My name is Chad My wife Joy and I love adoption because it is a picture of how God adopted us into His family. We were matched this week with a birthmom. We will meet our newborn girl on May 13. We are so excited. We still have about $10,000 that we need to raise for this adoption. So I’m turning to you for help, men. We’ve started a Save the Beard Adoption fund. Here are the rules: 1. I will challenge 3 men: 2. These 3 men must: a. Send $50 to the Save the Beard adoption fund

b. Send $25 to the Save the Beard adoption fund and challenge 3 more bearded brethern in a similar video explaining the rules.

c. Or suffer the shame of having to Shave their beard and post their picture on Facebook You can find the link to our family blog below. We posted donation instructions there. Please share this video with friends, tell them about our adoption, and challenge any bearded men you know. You can do so by sharing this video and tagging them on Facebook.”

If you don’t know who we are or any of our story, scroll way back to January 2013, where our story began.

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Here we go again!

Posted by Joy on March 29, 2015

We’ve been quiet on the blog for almost a year!  Wish we were better at it, but here we are blogging again.

After updating our adoption home study a year ago, not much happened.  We had our adoption profile shown many times, but nothing ever came of it.  Lately, its been a little discouraging, because if we have no matches by June, we will have to do the whole updating process again!

BUT, two weeks ago, our agency in FL, Embraced by Grace called us!  Our case worker had already shown our profile to a birth mother and our profile was the only one she was interested in!  This was a BIG deal.  We had been working with two agencies and typically the process goes like this:  a birth mother decides she wants to work with the agency and she tells them her preferences for families (childless or with other kids, race, in state/out of state, etc…), the agency then contacts all families that match the preferences and tell them about the birth mother’s history/situation, the families decide if they want their profile shown (if there are too many interested, not all will be shown).  Then the birth mother narrows it down.  She may choose one right away or she may pick two or three to speak with on the phone or Skype.  Then she will let the agency know the family she likes and the family will say yes if they want to match.

SO, to have our profile already shown and chosen was HUGE and eliminated much of the wondering and waiting for us.  We agreed to a phone call last Monday night.  The phone call went great and both the birth mom and our family agreed to the match!  We are super excited!!!

Baby girl will be delivered via C-section the second week of May.  That means we have a lot to do in a short amount of time.   Our adoption fund is not fully completed so that is a big part of our preparations.  We had many families give when we started updating our home study and we have been saving, but we will still need more money for this adoption.  We are required to pay this in 3 big chunks plus keep $1000 in our account each month with the agency to cover any birth mom expenses up until 6 weeks postpartum.  If the birth mom does not use all that money for “reasonable expenses” then it will go towards our last chunk.  Our first chunk is due next week as our official “matching” payment.  Then we do a payment at placement and a final payment right before everything is finalized in court.

We need your help!  If you can give towards our adoption fund, please do so through the Paypal link on the right or you can mail funds to us directly.  We will also be doing several fun fundraisers in the next few months and we hope you will consider participating.  Thanks for your love and support!

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Real quick…

Posted by Joy on May 10, 2014

I know we need to post many more updates on here, but I wanted to let you all know that I’ve (Joy) been asked to speak at our local MOPS next week about adoption.  While its simple for me because I could talk about it all day, its also so tough because there is so much I want to communicate and I need to focus it.  I’m not even really a great speaker, but one of the priorities I believe God has called Chad and I to is advocating for adoption.  I was going to decline, until the Lord really nudged my that this is an opportunity to follow through on the priority I’d set and I couldn’t pass it up.

So, will you pray for me?

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The next step in our adoption journey….

Posted by Joy on March 21, 2014

Spring 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

If you’ve known us for long, you know that the Sylvester family is passionate about adoption.  You can read most of our story here on our blog.

We see in the Bible that God clearly cares for “fatherless”.  And we understand that not everyone is called to adopt, but a fruit of believers is caring for orphans and widows. (James 1:27)  However, the Sylvester family feels specifically called to adopt.  In January, we finalized the adoption of our baby son, “O”.  Everyone was thrilled for us, but I think most people assumed that was it – we did what we were supposed to do and it,s over now.  But for us, that is not the end.  We feel that we need to continue being available for adoption until God makes it clear that we are finished doing so.  

For that reason, we are currently updating our homestudy.  We need to do this for 2 reasons:  #1-Our family situation changed since we added baby “O”, and #2-Our previous homestudy is now a year old and requires updating to be valid.  

We now begin the process of applying for grants and fundraising for our next adoption.  Did you know that the average cost of adoption in the US is between $20,000 and $40,000?  We are fortunate to be working with two Christian agencies who understand the importance of adoption and want to make it affordable.  Our next adoption will be between $15,000 and $25,000 through either one of these agencies for one child, more if we adopt siblings.

Last year, we did a little fundraising through our enormous yard sale and the Shave the Beard/Save the Beard campaign.  We are so thankful for those who donated and helped us raise a significant amount, but not the full $15-25k.  I (Joy) remember being disappointed with God, “Why didn’t He provide the large amount needed for adoption through a private agency?”  But God, in His wisdom, never gave me an answer.  Wouldn’t you know that the cost of baby O’s adoption was actually LESS than the amount we raised for our adoption fund last year?  God provided what we needed.  There was an abundance that allowed us to start our new homestudy.  I was humbled by the thought and was reminded that if this is what He has called us to, He will provide what we need.

Updating our homestudy is part one of being available to adopt whomever God brings our way, but fundraising is the second part.  We have heard of 3 different situations in the past month that could be right for us, but we are not ready financially to take them on.  We are saving money every month towards our adoption fund, but we can’t do it alone.  This is where YOU come in.  We understand that God is not calling every family to adopt, but we also firmly believe that God does call the Church to do something about the fatherless and the widow (James 1:27)  Could this be an area where He is leading you to be involved in the adoption of orphans?

We are beginning an envelope adoption fundraiser that works like this.  We have envelopes numbered 1-200.  Would you prayerfully consider sponsoring one or more envelopes?  If you decide to sponsor an envelope, you sign up on the Google doc (link below) by the number.  Then, you send us that amount of money.  For example, if you sign up for envelope #27, then you send us $27.  Once all envelopes are sponsored, we will have raised a little over $20,000.  

We thank you in advance for your prayerful support and love.  Thank you for being a part of God’s plan to place orphans in families.  


The Sylvester Family

Sign up document:

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March 10, 2014

Posted by Joy on March 10, 2014

Last week, “O” turned 6 months.  Hard to believe that much time has gone by.  I thought about his birth mother all day long.  We heard from her that afternoon, and we sent her a photo.  She was happy to see his chubby smiling face.  It was good communicating with her.  But I kept thinking about a quote I heard online somewhere…..”Our greatest joy, is her greatest heartache.”  I began to grieve for O’s birth mom – all that she is missing in this amazing little boy.  I wonder how she felt when she reached out to us last week.  Was she glad to see him so happy or did it hurt?  I’ll never understand her feelings, but God has done an amazing work in my heart to even allow me to care for her, hurt for her, and pray for her.

In addition to those feelings, I’m amazed every day at what God does when He places children in families.  It’s like O was born to us.  I knew when we adopted that we would love the children placed with us, but I thought somehow it would still feel different, but it doesn’t.  I don’t think it feels different to any of the four of us.  He is a Sylvester, and we love him just like our two biological children.  The depth of it is a profound mystery to me!  And today when his birth certificate came in the mail and it said NOTHING about adoption, it just said he was a Sylvester like our other children, I was moved to tears.  And then when God whispered, “That’s how I love you.”  There were just no words.  Profound mystery how God has adopted me and loves me as His own child.  I am being reminded of this Good News, the Gospel, daily in my little son.

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So, what’s new?

Posted by Joy on March 7, 2014


Now that you are all caught up.  What’s new with us?

-Chad started his exact same job with a new company because the contracting changed.  Having a contract based job is precarious!  We are so thankful he was hired on by the newly contracted company.  He didn’t even change desks or anything!  🙂

-“W” started karate class.  It has been so good to have him work hard at something.  And he may be a runner someday.  He loves to run and Chad took him to the high school track last night where he ran a mile!


-“A” was sad when her favorite ShowKids class was cancelled for 2014.  She is hoping to find other ways to pursue acting/singing/performing.  She was one of the top 10 kids in her grade to make the Math team which will be competing this month.

-Chad is working on a campaign for one of our friends who is running for State Representative and I think he really loves doing it!


-“O” is eating baby food like a champ and almost sitting up.  He is a very happy baby and loves attention!


-Joy is having a blast having a baby home again.  She is still working on her Fearless Freezer Cooking FB page and hosts freezer cooking make & take events.  She recently enjoyed the ladies’ shopping weekend that her mom annually treats Joy and her sister to.


As a family?

-We purchased a “new-to-us” vehicle after the Corolla was starting to show its age.  The Corolla sold on Craigslist within 24 hours of listing it!  It was a little bit sad because of all the memories….it was the first car Chad and I bought together and its the car “A” came home from the hospital in.  🙂  In looking for a new vehicle, we decided to really pursue a minivan with the 8th seat.  We want all the room we can to make us available for adopting more kids.  God was gracious in his provision.  We got an amazing deal on a 2012 Toyota Sienna.


-We are updating our home study so we will be ready to adopt again.  We are excited about that but it almost feels like starting all over!  Please pray for us to have patience through the process, to trust God, and to be wise.

-One of our greatest joys as parents these days, is seeing A & W interact with O.  They love him so much.



Posted in adoption, updates | 5 Comments »