That's Good Parenting

Where Your Beginning Began: Exploring the Power of Adoption in Family and Faith with Steve & Courtney Cohen

April 17, 2023 Dori Durbin Season 1 Episode 22
Where Your Beginning Began: Exploring the Power of Adoption in Family and Faith with Steve & Courtney Cohen
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That's Good Parenting
Where Your Beginning Began: Exploring the Power of Adoption in Family and Faith with Steve & Courtney Cohen
Apr 17, 2023 Season 1 Episode 22
Dori Durbin

Send us a Text Message.

Listen to today's episode, " Where Your Beginning Began: Exploring the Power of Adoption in Family and Faith with Steve & Courtney Cohen" as Entrepreneurs, Authors, and parents  Steve & Courtney Cohen join Dori Durbin. Steve & Courtney also share:

  • About "Where Your Beginning Began"
  • Kaynay: Symbolism and Connection
  • Importance of Honoring Birth Moms
  • New Revisions
  • Reading of the Book
  • Preparing Their Lives for Adoption
  • Why You Should Adopt
  • Hardest & Easiest Parts of Adoption
  • How to Best Use the Book

Did you love this episode? Discover more here:
 https://thepowerofkidsbooks.buzzsprout.com

More about Courtney
For Courtney Cohen, everything comes down to two questions: Who is God? And, who has He designed us to be? Whether she’s writing, speaking, or homeschooling her children, these questions propel her forward.

Author of multiple books, including Where Your Beginning Began and Refining Identity, Courtney passionately helps others encounter the reality and nearness of God in everyday life. Co-founder of Now Found Ministries, along with her husband, Courtney utilizes videos, blogging, and books to encourage others towards intimate relationships with God and a deeper awareness of His Voice speaking purpose over every life.

Courtney is married to Steve, her most radical supporter, who also keeps her real. Living in Texas, Courtney and Steve have three children who, simultaneously, bless her socks off and keep her on her toes. Stay in touch with Courtney at NowFound.org. 

Buy their books:
https://amzn.to/3XpTkMs

Follow Steve & Courney:
https://nowfound.org

More about Dori Durbin:
Dori Durbin is a Christian wife, mom, author, illustrator, and a kids’ book coach who after experiencing a life-changing illness, quickly switched gears to follow her dream. She creates kids’ books to provide a fun and safe passageway for kids and parents to dig deeper and experience empowered lives. Dori also coaches non-fiction authors and aspiring authors to “kid-size” their content into informational and engaging kids’ books!
 
Buy Dori's Kids' Books:
https://www.amazon.com/stores/Dori-Durbin/author/B087BFC2KZ

Follow Dori
http://instagram.com/dori_durbin
http://www.doridurbin.com
http://www.facebook.com/dori_durbin
email: hello@doridurbin.com


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Listen to today's episode, " Where Your Beginning Began: Exploring the Power of Adoption in Family and Faith with Steve & Courtney Cohen" as Entrepreneurs, Authors, and parents  Steve & Courtney Cohen join Dori Durbin. Steve & Courtney also share:

  • About "Where Your Beginning Began"
  • Kaynay: Symbolism and Connection
  • Importance of Honoring Birth Moms
  • New Revisions
  • Reading of the Book
  • Preparing Their Lives for Adoption
  • Why You Should Adopt
  • Hardest & Easiest Parts of Adoption
  • How to Best Use the Book

Did you love this episode? Discover more here:
 https://thepowerofkidsbooks.buzzsprout.com

More about Courtney
For Courtney Cohen, everything comes down to two questions: Who is God? And, who has He designed us to be? Whether she’s writing, speaking, or homeschooling her children, these questions propel her forward.

Author of multiple books, including Where Your Beginning Began and Refining Identity, Courtney passionately helps others encounter the reality and nearness of God in everyday life. Co-founder of Now Found Ministries, along with her husband, Courtney utilizes videos, blogging, and books to encourage others towards intimate relationships with God and a deeper awareness of His Voice speaking purpose over every life.

Courtney is married to Steve, her most radical supporter, who also keeps her real. Living in Texas, Courtney and Steve have three children who, simultaneously, bless her socks off and keep her on her toes. Stay in touch with Courtney at NowFound.org. 

Buy their books:
https://amzn.to/3XpTkMs

Follow Steve & Courney:
https://nowfound.org

More about Dori Durbin:
Dori Durbin is a Christian wife, mom, author, illustrator, and a kids’ book coach who after experiencing a life-changing illness, quickly switched gears to follow her dream. She creates kids’ books to provide a fun and safe passageway for kids and parents to dig deeper and experience empowered lives. Dori also coaches non-fiction authors and aspiring authors to “kid-size” their content into informational and engaging kids’ books!
 
Buy Dori's Kids' Books:
https://www.amazon.com/stores/Dori-Durbin/author/B087BFC2KZ

Follow Dori
http://instagram.com/dori_durbin
http://www.doridurbin.com
http://www.facebook.com/dori_durbin
email: hello@doridurbin.com


[00:00:00.410] - Dori Durbin
Growing up can be really hard. And it can be hard because sometimes our past can weigh us down and other times we forget what our past really means because it actually builds us up. In the book Where Your Beginning Began, written by Courtney Cohen, Courtney allows our past to be something that we can be proud of. As a matter of fact, that we can all say that we began in the same place. And this is especially true for kids who have been adopted by new families. I was fascinated with the concept of the importance of our beginnings, and I think you'll be curious about that too. Let's listen in.

[00:00:35.200] - Dori Durbin
Hello and welcome to The Power of Kids Book Podcast, where we believe that books are a catalyst for inspiring and empowering change. I'm your host, Dori Durbin. And today we have Steve and Courtney Cohen. They're the owners of now Found Apparel and Publishing, as well as at least eleven books and three children's books. So welcome guys.

[00:00:56.040] - Courtney Cohen
Thanks for having us.

[00:00:57.680] - Dori Durbin
Absolutely. Hey, we are going to talk about book number one today. We kind of worked backwards. So this is book number one, and it is where your beginning began. And I'm really curious where your beginning began with “Where Your Beginning Began”.

[00:01:13.510] - Steve Cohen
Right.

[00:01:16.730] - Courtney Cohen
The words for “Where Your Beginning Began” came to me one night about a week before our our little girl was going to be born, and she was going to come to us by way of private adoption, so I didn't get to carry this one. We've got two biological kids that were a privilege to have, but this was a whole different kind of journey and honor in so many ways. So about a week before she was born, I was getting ready for bed. Everybody else was completely asleep by that point. And I sit down on the bed and I just have this poem just kind of drop on me. And I just felt like God was giving me a really special gift in that moment. So I pull out my notes app and I just start typing away on my phone as fast as my thumbs can go. And before I know it, I've got a really solid foundation of a poem. And over the next week or two, we just kind of brushed up the words and that was the beginning of Where your beginning began. And then later, of course, we had a baby and life got very busy very quickly.

[00:02:24.660] - Courtney Cohen
So eventually we came back to that and we found an illustrator to work with and started the process of actually making it into a book. So now our daughter that we adopted is about to turn five. So it has been a really amazing journey and she picks up this book and she claims it as her own, but the meaning behind it for us, it was so important for us to give her some understanding of where she came from. Because we've had her from moment one. We were there at the hospital when she was born, and she has always been ours, but she also has a history beyond that that's really important to remember and to honor. So this book just begins to speak into that and take a glimpse at that history.

[00:03:21.890] - Steve Cohen
We really feel it's important to honor the birth moms in this situation because they have made sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice. They have made incredible decisions that go well beyond themselves, and it's a beautiful thing to bless another family with their child, but it's also a difficult thing, and we just want to honor that very difficult decision and sacrifices that they've made.

[00:03:52.010] - Dori Durbin
Okay. She is from Jamaica, is that correct?

[00:03:55.690] - Courtney Cohen
No, we adopted her here in Texas. But yeah, there's Jamaican origin, her life.

[00:04:04.990] - Steve Cohen
That's where we started, the Land of Fambly, which is Jamaican for family, which is, I'm sure, what you're actually referencing there. There's a strong lineage from Jamaica that she has, and we just felt that would be a nice homage, I think, to that history.

[00:04:23.330] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah.

[00:04:23.840] - Dori Durbin
And so your main character is I think I'm saying this right, Kaynay, The elephant.

[00:04:29.370] - Courtney Cohen
"K-nay". Yes.

[00:04:30.710] - Dori Durbin
And I know that there's kind of a story to that character being part of the book itself, so I'll let you tell that story.

 [00:04:38.330] - Steve Cohen
I think it really started actually with a painting that our oldest daughter and I really started decorating our youngest daughter's room. And along the lines, this is a long journey. There's actually a ten year gap between our middle child and our youngest. And that was part of, honestly, Courtney and I not being on the same page. Believe it or not, it was I that wanted the the children, and Courtney was not not at that place for for about seven years. And it took about three additional years, once we made up our mind with all of life happening, to really go through that journey of adoption with the paperwork and the processing and all the different fundraising and things like that. So it was where this came about, is on the wall, we painted an elephant. It was kind of like an elephant's gestation, this really long period. So that's where Cane the elephant actually comes from because it felt like a forever process. And Knee is just the nickname that we actually have for our youngest.

 [00:05:51.230] - Dori Durbin
That's neat. That's really neat. I love the gestation reference, too, because I think it's like anything that's worthwhile, you think it's going to happen really fast and it takes so much longer than what you expect.

 [00:06:05.110] - Steve Cohen
Exactly.

[00:06:07.110] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah. And the elephant painting that's on the wall in her room, we waited until we found out whether it was a boy or a girl, because all of the other animals are kind of neutral colors that could be appropriate for a boy or a girl, because we were open to adopting either. So we didn't paint her purple and pink until with like a green belly, until we found that out. Just to have something a little more girly in there. Just fun. But with the brown eyes because she's got gorgeous brown eyes.

 [00:06:38.130] - Steve Cohen
Yeah. Wonderful. She's my little brown eye girl. When we had our two biological, we went through a pregnancy, I guess, counseling sessions and things, and they encouraged us to pray for two things for our child to have. And I was praying the love of music and the voice that my bride has and her blue eyes. I've got deep brown eyes and both of our kids came out with her blue eyes. And then I still wanted me, like, my deep, dark brown eyes to be in one of our children. So here came along our youngest, and man, she's got my brown eyes. I love it.

 [00:07:22.430] - Dori Durbin
Awesome. That is awesome. We were chatting right before this, and I think this is probably a good time to talk about the changes that you've made in the actual images. I think that kind of fits right now. Really?

 [00:07:37.040] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah. So we did work with an illustrator who did a really wonderful job. It's a beautiful work, but there were things that we wanted to brighten up. And as we've got the other two books that came after this, we wanted to create more of a cohesive flow between them. So Steve has been kind of freshening up this into what will be a second edition releasing very soon. So we're excited about that.

 [00:08:05.070] - Steve Cohen
Yeah. We're hoping to actually finish the final drawing this afternoon. So that's how fresh this is actually going to be. Hopefully that will be available soon. But if not, either way, the first edition and second edition are still they're both beautiful. They both are going to carry the same heart of really identity and sharing this beautiful process. And again, honoring the birth mom, really getting on that mindset of making sure that we are just loving on this whole process and all parties who are a part of it.

 [00:08:39.430] - Dori Durbin
Is that really what you showed me before, too, with the physical features of the elephants and how they shared them? That was really quite clever as far as having spots and dots and that kind of thing, too.

 [00:08:53.050] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah. Do you want to describe some of that?

 [00:08:55.840] - Steve Cohen
Yeah. So one of the things that we wanted to make sure is that went through the adoption process, that the animals are the same, the species are the same, but in the species, we wanted to make sure that we gave enough individualism or uniqueness to each individual one. And Kaynay, the elephant carries the same markings that the birth mom or the older elephant has. I don't know how you actually say that. Not older. The birth mom, birth mom elephant. And even though they are the same colors and the same patterns and such, there are similarities to the adoptive parents where one of the ears actually Kaynay has is checkers, and then the other one is dots. And the adoptive parents, the mom has both ears are actually Dots, and the dad has both ears are checkers. So there's a lot of similarities, but the colors are all different because we're all different colored. We're all different. We've got freckles, pale skin. Our youngest is not. She doesn't have freckles, so we all look different, but we're all very similar. And we really kind of want to express that through all the illustrations.

 [00:10:12.530] - Dori Durbin
I thought that was really clever. I really did. That's why I pulled that back out, because I think that it just shows, too, even how in an environment, you kind of pick up what other people do and some of the characteristics and even some of the facial gestures and things. So it just, again, shows that families can be made out of different groups, right?

 [00:10:34.330] - Steve Cohen
Absolutely.

 [00:10:35.530] - Dori Durbin
Well, I know that you're probably anxious to read some of this book. We'd love to hear 30 seconds or so of it. Courtney, are you reading?

 [00:10:44.580] - Courtney Cohen
Yes, I'm going to read this one.

 [00:10:46.270] - Dori Durbin
Awesome.

 [00:10:48.010] - Courtney Cohen
We'll jump into the middle and then have the end to wrap it up. God spoke, a woman heard in her womb. You quickly grew as she listened to life. God's design worked its way through. She searched for God's best place where you could find your heart's home and where you would be embraced, safely, secure, loved and warm. So love. When you wonder where your beginning began, always this you remember you began in God's own hand.

 [00:11:22.570] - Dori Durbin
That is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Love it.

 [00:11:27.050] - Steve Cohen
Jealous? Why? I wanted my own poem, which is what started kind of this trend of all the other books that are coming.

 [00:11:33.470] - Dori Durbin
I do see. I absolutely do. And I'm glad that you're both open to getting that. I almost think of it as like an upload or download something. That's really awesome. So I'm curious, having heard that, how did you prepare yourself for the whole adoption process and bringing in this new person into your family that already existed?

 [00:11:58.790] - Courtney Cohen
Well, before this time, we had already been foster parents, and so we had a taste of the system, the foster care system, and how that all worked. We knew how we were aging, and we knew we wanted one more I'll just be honest. We wanted one more infant experience before we got a little too old to be able to really enjoy the infant experience. And there are very few ways that you can do that through adoption. So the way that we chose was to go private adoption. So you can do that a few different ways. But we went through an agency, and they connected us with a birth mom. Our profile was shown to many birth moms over the course of several months, nine months, I believe, and who fit the parameters that we had. And you can say what you're open for and just put in the different preferences, and so they'll show it to birth moms that apply to that. So we got a phone call one day, early February of 2018, and I got a phone call, and our social worker, case worker was on the phone. I was like, oh my gosh, oh, my gosh, hold on.

 [00:13:20.540] - Courtney Cohen
So I got Steve on the three way call because I knew, and she let us know that we had been chosen. And so that was I mean, I'm goosebumps right now just even remembering that moment. But up until that point, we had done mounds of paperwork and so much fundraising because it's not an inexpensive process. And the agency that we chose is very birth mom centered, where they provide living quarters. Yeah, they've got apartments there that they can live if they don't have a safe place. If they need groceries, they help with that, whatever. They need a job, they provide services for these women, and it's not a pressure to place. It's really a very loving and supportive environment for them. And that was so important to us. So all of those things were happening up until this time, and then we were just waiting forever. So we get that phone call, and that kind of kicks off a new series of events where we went out and had an in person meeting. We got to meet her face to face and ask questions. We all got to ask each other questions. And it was awkward and exciting.

 [00:14:43.450] - Steve Cohen
There was some comical parts to it that we love reminiscing about things. It's a little personal, so we won't share some of those things on here, but it is it's about every single emotion that you can imagine having. So anybody that's preparing for this know that you're going to have them all. It's frustration, you're going to have joy, you're going to have comical events, all of those things and just enjoy the process is really what I would say or encourage.

 [00:15:14.400] - Courtney Cohen
Right. Just be open. But we knew that she wanted a closed adoption, which is less common these days. Open adoption, where you have some kind of contact, is much more normal these days. And she was choosing closed adoption. So we wanted to take pictures and videos and ask questions and get as much information as we could so that we could bring that to Michaela's attention as she grew up and let her know that this is what your mom was like and these are things she liked to do. And this is her favorite style of music and her favorite food. And we wanted to give her more as much as we could with the limited time we had. Well, I'll finish up. I know you haven't thought I'll finish this one thing, but we went out there several times, I think three ish times. So we had that meeting and then we went out a couple more times to go. We were there for some ultrasounds. So we got to have pictures of her sonogram pictures and took the birth mom out to lunch, got to get to know her a little bit better before the actual birth.

 [00:16:33.990] - Courtney Cohen
And then I was able to be in the delivery room and Steve and our bio kids were just down the hall and his parents were there too. So he got to be the first one to feed her and we all got to hold her within an hour of birth. It was just so beautiful. And I think everything about her adoption process for me looking back was just ideal and it is not always that way.

[00:16:59.750] - Steve Cohen
Well, this is part of our journey. We understand that this is not how it always is. And sometimes a kiddo, I mean, you get a call and 3 hours later there's a kiddo you're at the hospital and if you're doing private adoption and then we also know there's kinship placements and more difficult things, situations through foster care. And that's actually one of our other books, loved as You Are actually addresses those. So we wanted to make sure with these currently three books that are out, we have where you're beginning began as private adoption, loved as You Are is kind of those harder place situation adoptions and then however long, Forever is really geared solely for foster care. But one of the things I did want to talk about real quick is that Courtney expressed there's a lot of fundraising and things are very expensive and there is a reason why that so I want to put that shatter, that misnomer that oh, it's just an adoption agency trying to make a lot of money. These agencies are loving on these parents, they're loving on these women and it costs money to do so. It costs money to help them along this process and pay for the medical bills and pay for food or whatever it actually is, pay for the resources to go out and do these things.

 [00:18:15.390] - Steve Cohen
So I want to encourage anybody that is considering adoption. And they're sitting there, and that's the thing that's keeping them from maybe doing it is, oh, it's just too expensive just to change the mindset there a little bit is really look at what it would cost to deliver or take somebody through nine months of a pregnancy cycle and what that cost actually is. Know that that's what you're doing is.

 [00:18:40.390] - Courtney Cohen
You're helping those children and not to get overwhelmed. I was terrified of the sticker price just when we got the agency has flat fees along the way and that they have determined based on all those resources that they're providing. And it can be really overwhelming when you don't just have that sitting in your bank account but God provided. I just look back and see how he just provided and we got such beautiful support along the way from so.

 [00:19:14.050] - Steve Cohen
Many people and you don't have to do it alone. There are people in your sphere that are waiting to just come alongside you and support you. You just have to be okay with it. So open your hands up and let it be.

[00:19:28.840] - Dori Durbin
Yeah, that's great advice. I actually never thought about the financial end of it or about the length of the time, and then you probably invested more than once hoping for something to happen. Yeah, that's great advice. Okay, considering all that, what was the easiest and the hardest part of the adoption process? Can you even define that.

 [00:19:55.870] - Courtney Cohen
For our experience of a private adoption? Because the hardest thing would be totally different if you're coming out of foster care adoption. But for this, I would say probably the paperwork and the hoops to jump through. We were selling a house and buying a house at the same time, and so it got put on hold. But if you're going through it diligently, all straight through, it's still going to take you at least three to six months to get through all the paperwork and the home study and the requirements.

 [00:20:28.810] - Steve Cohen
So it's a lot that would be the hardest. I was going to say basically the same thing. I think the easiest one was saying yes when they actually called and said, you've been selected, and here's some information. The easiest thing is just saying yes, and it gets even second. I don't even know if it would be second of that, but maybe even equally was just welcoming her in into our family and just being in there and just enjoying that first hold and.

 [00:21:00.960] - Courtney Cohen
That first feeding like ours from the very first moment. I know that there are situations where it doesn't feel like that, and it does take some time to grow in love with each other, and that's okay too. And that's also a different kind of normal. Our situation was love at first sight, love at first phonogram, love at first yes. You know, so she always felt like ours. There's never been a moment where she doesn't feel like she's our daughter just as equally as our biological kiddos.

 [00:21:35.230] - Dori Durbin
That's amazing. And I think because you think about the families that have waited for this time, they've waited for the opportunity, and it's rough. It's super rough. And so you have to just feel so blessed in so many ways.

 [00:21:48.930] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I do remember a difficult season while we were waiting, we had the paperwork done, we were approved, and we were literally just waiting for the call. And I looked around, and I feel like 70% of my friends were getting pregnant. And that was difficult as well. For me, that was more emotionally difficult than anything, I think, just looking around. And I remember walking up to one of my friends who she has been incredibly blessed. They've got ten biological children, and I think I was guessing she was pregnant. And I walked up to her, and I was just feeling emotional but she's thankfully one of those friends I can just be raw with. And I walked up to her and I was like, are you pregnant? Because I just had a feeling. She's like, yeah, I just found out. And I was like, I'm so happy for you, and I'm so sad for me. And she just helped me. She knew because they've been walking through this process with us for a long time. So I was able to freely say that to her and to celebrate with her and to also be sad.

 [00:22:57.510] - Courtney Cohen
And it was like six weeks later, we got our phone call, so Mikayla was already in the womb, she was already bacon, and she was on the way, and I just didn't know it yet.

 [00:23:08.890] - Steve Cohen
That would be maybe even another thing as advice is knowing that God knows who your kiddo is. So just kind of let him do what he does is one of the biggest things. We have so many friends and connections and whatnot that have been in this process. And they waited years, one of the close friends, three years. We have another group of friends right now that they've been in this process for over two years, and it seems like forever. I mean, we have ten years between our oldest daughter and our youngest, and that felt like eternity, right? So all of these things, but when Michaela came, it's one of those things.

 [00:23:52.320] - Courtney Cohen
Where we just doesn't matter anymore.

 [00:23:55.170] - Steve Cohen
Doesn't matter the weight.

 [00:23:56.550] - Courtney Cohen
Yeah.

 [00:23:58.010] - Dori Durbin
Worth it in the end.

 [00:23:59.850] - Courtney Cohen
Totally worth it.

 [00:24:01.950] - Dori Durbin
All right, so I know we only have a few minutes left. I want to ask you for your book. What is probably the best thing that people can do as far as using your book, where your beginning began?

 [00:24:16.370] - Courtney Cohen
So I would recommend doing exactly what we do, sitting down and reading through that book with your adopted child. And we actually printed off a one off copy for our daughter that has sonogram pictures and pictures of her birth mom in it. So I would recommend people print off some pictures and just stick them in the front covers as well and allow that to become their story, to remember and honor their history as well.

 [00:24:48.600] - Steve Cohen
We do have a page in the very beginning where it's a dedication page, and we really hope that these books will travel with these kiddos forever, that this is going to be something that they're going to hold and cherish. So, yes, placing pictures of the birth mom and maybe whatever connections or connectivity that the children can have to the birth mom is vital, and I think that this can play a huge part of that.

 [00:25:16.870] - Dori Durbin
That's awesome. Well, can you tell us again where to find all of your materials, your books, your apparel, everything?

 [00:25:24.710] - Courtney Cohen
Yes, you can go to nowfound.org. That's nowfound.org, and we will have everything there.

 [00:25:36.570] - Dori Durbin
That's great. Well, you two are an inspiration, and I just look forward to all of the new books that are going to be coming eventually here and the new tales of the experiences you're having right now that you haven't even experienced yet. We do.

 [00:25:51.460] - Steve Cohen
We look forward to them as well.

 [00:25:53.350] - Dori Durbin
Thank you for your time today.

 [00:25:55.300] - Steve Cohen
Thank you.

 [00:25:56.080] - Courtney Cohen
It is a pleasure.

 

Introduction
The Inspiration Behind the Book
Importance of Honoring Birth Moms
Kaynay: Symbolism and Connection
Future Revisions
"Where Your Beginning Began" Reading
How to Prepare for Adoption
Why You Should Adopt
Easiest & Hardest Parts of Adoption
How to Best Use This Book