Wednesday, July 1, 2015

adoption story: andrew and lauren

Andrew and Lauren decided to embark on a new adventure at the start of 2015. Just two weeks into the new year, they started with Christian Adoption Consultants. A friend who had recently adopted referred them knowing God had put adoption on their hearts. 



After struggling with infertility and after many prayers and support from family and friends, they felt God led them to adopt. Knowing everything happens for a reason, they dove into the home study process, eager to see what 2015 held for their family. By March they were home study ready. Immediately, I began sending them possible situations. Just weeks later, one stuck out to them and seemed like the perfect fit; they presented their profile for the first time.


And just like that, 2015 became a life-changing year. They were chosen by an expectant mama and anticipating the birth of a daughter. And on May 26th, their whole world changed when this beautiful girl was born.

And 2015 isn't over. They have holidays and family vacations. They have baby smiles and coos. They have milestones and family memories to create.


And they have years of memories to make on this adventure as a family of three. Andrew and Lauren were right. God's perfect plan was to grow their family through adoption.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

adoption story: tyler and miki

Meet Jonah.


This little boy is the result of years of prayers, of heartache and tears, and ultimately of love.

Let me tell you the beginnings of his story...

Jonah's parents, Tyler and Miki were eager to become parents. More than anything, they wanted to raise a family. They have big hearts for children but had been unable to have a baby biologically. That's when adoption became the answer to their dreams to become parents.


Tyler and Miki had heard about Christian Adoption Consultants through an acquaintance. You've heard me mention the amazing adoption family that is growing up all over the country among CAC families. Through their adoption journey, this family and a handful of others nearby became some of Tyler and Miki's biggest supporters, cheerleaders, and encouragers. And these local CAC families who have welcomed little ones through adoption who now have the joy of growing up together.

It turns out those families were their lifeline. When Tyler and Miki went through a failed match just before Christmas, they needed all of the encouragement they could get to stay the course. Just days later they heard about another expectant mother needing an adoptive family. They were immediately drawn to the situation, but hesitated because of all they had just been through. Despite this, they pressed forward, confident that God was in control and writing a beautiful story, even though they didn't know the ending.


Five months later, their son was born. And the name Jonah? They chose it because the Biblical story was a great metaphor for their journey to parenthood. In the beginning, Tyler and Miki felt like they were doing everything their way rather than following God's plan. But God made it clear he had a better plan for their family and everything worked out more perfectly than they could ever have imagined.  

Welcome to the world, Jonah. We can't wait to see the rest of your story.


Monday, June 29, 2015

adoption story: paul and jenny

One thing you have to know about Paul and Jenny: they love big. One look at their family picture and you can see that family is their first priority. 


I'll let Jenny tell you the story of how their family picture grew from just the two of them to a family of eight.

Adoption has long been the way we’ve wanted to add to our family, even before we were married. Shortly after we were married, a mission trip to Jamaica working at an orphanage for children with severe mental and physical disabilities. I remember watching my husband hold a four year old child who could not hear, speak, or talk with such tenderness. He didn’t see any of this child’s deficits. We left knowing first hand that God had truly placed a love in our hearts that wasn’t just born of biology. We went home knowing we would do something about it.  So, we became foster parents. We started fostering before having any of our own. Twenty plus foster children later (and four biological!), God brought our incredible son, James, into our lives through foster care. In short, fostering babies and children and loving their birth families has been amazing and something we’ll forever be grateful for. We still have a lot more love to pour out; we love our family and want to share it with another little one! 

And so, they began the domestic infant adoption process with Christian Adoption Consultants last May. They were home study ready in July, And seven months later they were matched with an expectant mom.

I watched them over the next several months as they loved their expectant mother. Paul and Jenny are passionate about living out their faith, sharing Jesus with their kids, and were devoted to doing the same with her. In their profile for their birth mother, they wrote these words:

If you choose us to parent your child, they will be raised to dream big. They will be taught that they can do anything in God’s strength, and have a team of people who love them (including you!) cheering them on as they go. We will do all that we can to raise a young person that you will be very proud of. We’re sure this little one will grow to be a difference maker in the world!  



In May they welcomed their son into the world. Their family grew from seven to eight. 

Their son's story didn't start the day he was born. It didn't start the day his birth mother chose Paul and Jenny to be his parents or when they knew their dining room table had room for another. It didn't even start that day Jenny saw Paul hold a little one and know parenthood would be one of their most important callings in life.


His story began before the beginning of time when a Creator wrote his story, wrote him into their family, and knew he would be a difference maker in the world.



Friday, June 26, 2015

adoption story: brad and meagan

Brad and Meagan had already been blessed by the miracle of adoption. They adopted their son from Ethiopia in 2011 treasured parenthood and all that came with adoption. They learned from experience that the love they have for an adopted child is second to none. 


For Brad and Meagan, adoption was never a second choice and came to a time when they felt it was right to adopt again. They started with Christian Adoption Consultants last July while living abroad for work. When they returned to the states in the fall they began working on their home study. In January their home study was complete and just four weeks later, they were matched with an expectant mother due the end of May.


But on May 1st, their daughter made a surprising early appearance! Just as Brad was arriving to the airport from overseas, Meagan was packed and headed out to meet their daughter. They literally took Meagan's suitcase out of the car, loaded Brad's back in, and Brad headed home to make final preparations as Meagan boarded a plane.


The next day, in the middle of the night, Meagan arrived just after the baby's birth and the next day, Brad and proud big brother arrived as well. You can see from these first meeting pictures with Daddy, Big Brother, and Grandparents that this little girl was longed for and prayed for for quite awhile.




One of the things I have loved about walking with Brad and Meagan is the way they have loved their birth family. They have spent time getting to know them, praying for them, and honoring their choice for life for their daughter. 


Unlike most adoption stories, much of the excitement and unknown actually happened after their daughter's birth as they awaited legal permission to return back home. Through the entire ordeal, I watched as Brad and Meagan handled unexpected delays and unknowns with incredible grace. They never wavered in their confidence in God's plan and their commitment to the adoption process and bringing their daughter home.

Welcome home, to another family who embraced adoption wholeheartedly and have a beautiful story to tell of their daughter's beginnings.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

running away

Every kid does it at least once. I guess I never did but I thought about it. I had dramatic plans to pack a suitcase and run away from home when I was especially upset at my parents. This weekend, Isabelle decided it was her turn.


We had had a particularly rough day. Nine is TOUGH ya'll. There are emotions and eye-rolling and hormones and eye-rolling and parents telling you what to do. And more eye-rolling. Teaching a nine year old girl going on nineteen how to keep emotions in check, develop self-control, and learn to trust Jesus with it all is a full time job. 

And if I'm honest, dealing with it all I have to relearn how to keep my emotions in check since I'm also raising a mini-me. We don't just look alike; we have very similar personalities which can make for some fiery dynamics between the two of us. And if my mother's experience with me is any indication, these next few years are gonna be doozys. 

So after an evening of hard hearts, harsh words, and plenty of eye-rolls, we were at the epitome of nine.

Without a word, she brought me a walkie-talkie and took the other. Then, she packed a suitcase and dramatically announced she was running away. Before I knew it, she was walking out the door. 

I quickly grabbed Jamy from upstairs, filled him in on what was happening, and we watched her from the dining room window. 

"Mom?" (she had the walkie talkie).

"Yeah, babe?"

"Goodbye." (Oscar-worthy drama. For real.)

That's when she broke down crying and ran back home. You should have seen Jamy and I scramble from the window when she turned around so she wouldn't see that we had been watching her the whole time.

She had gotten as far as two houses down. She never even made it out of our cul-de-sac and the whole thing maybe lasted 5 minutes.

The rest of the night there were more tears. But this time with a soft heart, acknowledgement of pain caused, and repentance. But one thing she said has stuck with me:

"Mom, I've been so mean. Families aren't mean to each other. That's why I had to leave."

I was quick to correct her. Actually, families are mean to each other all the time. We see the best and the worst of each other. We have sharp tongues and use them with the people we know will still love us if they see our ugly side. When we have a bad day our family is the first to see our crummy attitude. She's right that we should strive to love our family well of course, but often those we love most don't get the best of us.

But we were never meant to leave our family. Family works through it. Family has the hard conversations; even if there's raised voices and eye-rolls mixed in. Family always stays. 

Family was never meant to say goodbye.

The night ended with hugs and reminders of God's goodness and grace. And I told her if she ever ran away again, I would always make sure she found her way home.



Lessons learned:

Make sure you pack your walkie talkie. Communication is important even when you're fed up.

You can leave out the eye-rolls. You might not win the Oscar but it'll be easier to win a heart.

If you've said goodbye, make sure you don't make it more than two houses down the street before you turn around and come home.


Friday, June 19, 2015

a letter to my husband on father's day

This weekend is a big one for our family. Not only are we celebrating the Daddy in our house, but we're also celebrating his homecoming one year ago. One year ago Jamy returned home to our family after being gone for seven months. One year ago we were celebrating answered prayers, changed hearts, and a family forever changed.


This year, it's been good for my heart to look back. To be reminded of the work that God has done and continues to do in our family, and celebrate God's continuous work of redemption. This was the letter I wrote to Jamy last year on Father's Day and is just as true today.



Jamy,

So much has happened in our family since celebrating your last father's day. You've left our family and come back home.

But the father who left his children 7 months ago, the father who left his children even long before that, is not the father who has returned this Father's Day weekend.

You have come back stronger.
You're learning that strength is found in humility and admitting your weaknesses. That true strength is admitting you have none on your own and resting on God's work in your life.

You have come back braver.  
You have a quiet confidence; not in yourself, but in finding your identity in whose you are.  

You have come back transformed.
God's miraculous and redemptive work in your life has utterly changed you.  

The man you have become, and are becoming, is one that I'm incredibly proud of. The work you've done, and allowed God to do through you in these past several months had been nothing short of redemptive. It has begun to change you and the very fabric of our family in amazing and beautiful ways.

So on a day I would imagine it might be hard to look back and see the faults, the failings, and the pain, it's good to look forward at the new life God has given you as a father.

A new picture of what Jesus would look like with skin on in our house.

A new legacy to give your children of following hard after Jesus.

And when you keep passionately pursuing him, 
I will be proud if Jackson becomes a man who looks like you 
and and if Isabelle marries a man like you 
and someday they become fathers like you...

I love you, Jamy.  Happy Father's Day.
S


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

adoption story: angelo and susan

When I think of the time I had the honor of walking with Angelo and Susan on their adoption journey, I can think of nothing but passionate hope. From the moment I first met Susan, she had a fire that was contagious. Susan does nothing halfheartedly and her road to their daughter was no different. 

 

Angelo and Susan had been blessed with their sweet son and after tremendous loss, knew God had called them to adoption to continue to grow their family. Around this time last summer, Susan and Angelo started with Christian Adoption Consultants and were home study ready within weeks. 

Susan of course hoped for a quicker match. I began sending situations and Angelo and Susan were presented to multiple expectant families. When the weeks stretched into months and there was still no match, Susan never lost her passion for adoption, her commitment to their journey to build their family, and her fierce hope that there was a little one out there meant to be a part of their family.

And then, they were matched. It's still amazing to me how things can change in an instant. One moment Angelo and Susan were wondering if adoption would ever happen for them. If they would go another year with no baby. And then they are scrambling to make sure the nursery was ready and flights were booked. Because less than four weeks later they welcomed their beautiful daughter into the world.



And that wait that seemed so long? Susan was right all along to keep hoping. Their wait between when they were home study ready and when their daughter was born was almost nine months to the day.


Today I'm celebrating with Angelo and Susan and a proud big brother on the birth of this beautiful girl and thankful for God's promise that hope does not disappoint.


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