Thursday, September 11, 2014

congratulations John and Alisha

I’m so glad the wait it over and I can now announce this precious girl’s birth on the blog!

God’s perfect timing shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but somehow it still does.

John and Alisha started with Christian Adoption Consultants last summer. Almost exactly 9 months later, they were matched with an expectant mother. Then, less than two weeks later, their daughter entered the world.

This sweet girl joined two amazing parents and one very proud and doting big sister.

Alisha shared in those days just after the birth, "This entire story has been written so uniquely... God is doing big things here!" 

Congrats, John and Alisha! I love when God's "big things" come in the tiniest packages.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

congratulations Jake and Ashley

Sometimes miracles happen what seem like almost overnight. Jake and Ashley began their adoption journey with Christian Adoption Consultants in May and began their home study process. Due to some unique circumstances and ultimately God's provision, they were matched with an expectant mama in August, before their home study was even complete. And before they knew it, just eight days later, they were in the delivery room when their son was born.

But the reality is, miracles never really happen overnight. God had been preparing these parents long before May for their son to join their family. To open their hearts to adoption. To prepare their home for an unexpected way to grow their family. He was paving the way this whole time for the miracle to unfold.

Jake and Ashley sat poised for the miracle they believed in, hoped for, and trusted God to do.

God took what the world calls a "one in a million" chance to become parents and created a family of three.

God took years of grief and overturned it all in a moment.

God took one couples' "yes" and turned it into a lifetime of memories for a family.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

remembering mattie

Two weeks ago, this brave little warrior met Jesus.

In those hours and days after Mattie passed, I was honored to come along side John and Tracie and invited to share in their grief. Walking with friends through life, especially in these moments, was horrible and beautiful all at once. Although many of these moments were personal and sacred, I can bring you in on the lessons John and Tracie taught me during this time.

Life is precious
Mattie was a miracle. From the moment he was born (and long before), God had tremendous purpose for his life. Born with special needs and needing constant support and care, by the world’s standards Mattie might be seen as a burden. But his family and those closest to him would tell you Mattie was anything but that. Without hesitation we can tell you that Mattie was a gift. His smile was infectious, his joy was contagious, and he spoke hope to those around him without ever using his voice. As Tracie shared at her son’s memorial service, it was clear that this mama knew from the beginning that her son was a miracle, knit together by the hands of God.

Family is to be cherished
The Loux family loves big. The fabric of their family is made of unconditional acceptance, welcoming the least of these, and lots of laughter. John and Tracie have an amazing ability to be intentional and purposeful about knowing each of their children’s hearts and calling each of them to their God-given identity. During the memorial service, I watched as John did this personally for each member of their family. Those were holy moments as he stood behind Mattie’s casket and spoke blessings as a husband and a father. He told each of them he was in it with them, he would wrestle with the hard stuff alongside them, and that he loved them uniquely and individually. You can read more of John’s words here. It's so worth it.

We are made to love and be loved.
Mattie’s older sister-in-law shared at his service that Mattie existed to love and be loved. Amy spoke eloquently of Mattie and the challenge his life brought to all of us to love boldly and accept love from others. Mattie was loved fiercely by his family who took continual joy from his life. And without speaking any words, Mattie could communicate his adoring love for those around him. For years, Mattie needed the help oftracheostomy to breathe. The Loux's claimed "Don't Forget to Breathe" as their mantra while Mattie was with them and fighting for breath. Mattie's sister, Isabelle shared, "All this time we thought we were teaching him how to breathe when really, he was teaching us." For his several short years on earth, Mattie gave us a picture of what true love and living really is. At Mattie's celebration service, pinwheels were everywhere to honor Mattie and the air he's breathing freely now.

Just weeks before Mattie was born and John and Tracie were anticipating him joining their family through adoption, she shared this on Facebook:
I could hold back love until it feels safe, but that’s not the way it works. He loved us before we loved Him, with no guarantee of love returned choosing to walk out the gospel through adoption. I will love now, no strings attached.
I stood with Tracie over her son’s casket and reminded her of these words. John and Tracie loved Mattie in a way that only the gospel can give grace and meaning to.

Words fail as we think of Mattie’s impact on the world around him, the adoption and life movement, and especially those closest to him. Though his heart was sick it was never weak. His life was short but his impact was lasting.

Mattie was little but his life was mighty.

These past days have been a testimony of Mattie’s impact on the world. Tracie told his story through her blog and social media and his life touched so many. People who never met Mattie knew his smile. Those who never had a chance to hold him came to honor him last Wednesday. There were children in wheelchairs, medical professionals who had cared for Mattie, and hundreds of others whose lives had been affected by this little boy who came to celebrate his life. At last count, the Facebook page created to remember him had reached over 52,000 people. If you search the hashtag #selfisundayformattie and you’ll see hundreds of posts to honor Mattie. Tracie started the hashtag encouraging families to capture and cherish the moments they are blessed to share together.

The reality is that Mattie's life was full of difficulty and struggle. I watched as John and Tracie agonized over his health and his care. But in her last note to her son, written on Mattie’s casket, Tracie said she would do it a million times over. Although parts of Mattie's life was filled with ache, it was also filled with immeasurable joy and love that far outweighed everything else.

Loux family, you taught us that all of life is precious, that family is to be honored and cherished, and that we are each made to love and be loved. Thank you for sharing your boy with the world.

We miss you, Mattie Sam. Your life continues to be a miracle.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

enjoy today, mama

It’s been more than insanity around here. Crazy town I call it.

So this week on the blog is catch up week.

In the midst of the chaos, the kids went back to school and I caught my breath again at how fast all of this is going.

Their childhood. Their growing up on me. Their grades and their shoe size.

They keep getting bigger and time keeps passing.

As they ran ahead of me into school when I dropped them off or the first day of second and third grade, I noticed their backpacks weren’t quite as massive on their bodies as I remembered. They looked bigger sitting at their desks. And they were more eager to begin their work and say goodbye.

Walking out of the school, I was reminded of Jen Hatmaker’s thoughts about our children growing up:

You will never have this day with your children again.
Tomorrow, they’ll be a little older than they were today.
This day is a gift.
Breathe and notice.
Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention.
Relish the charms of the present.
Enjoy today, mama.
It will be over before you know it.

So I breathed deep, tried to etch memories in my mind and heart to hold onto, and looked forward to hearing about the playground, the homework, and the friendships over snacks after school later that day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

congratulations Tom and Erica

It is such a joy to celebrate this sweet little girl's birth with this amazing family.

Tom and Erica have had a long journey to their daughter. Along the way, they have endured incredible hardship and loss. When they called me last February, they made it clear this was their last ditch effort to adding to their family. They told me their story and I was immediately amazed at their courage and determination.

At that point they didn't know how, or when, but they knew God was calling them to take a risk and continue on their journey.

My respect for their faith grew as I walked with them closely down the road that eventually led them to their daughter. Four months after starting with Christian Adoption Consultants, they were matched with a birth family. And the next two months I watched as they built a relationship; sacrificially loving and serving them. Erica told me multiple times that she felt called to extend Christ's unconditional love to this couple, and I was amazed watching her do it so well.

Last week their beautiful daughter was born. Welcomed by two doting older brothers and her incredible parents. 

Tom and Erica took the risk. They loved well. They clung to hope.

And this precious bundle makes them a family of five.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

congratulations Dan and Kelsi

When Dan and Kelsi began the journey to adoption, they were prepared for a wait. The road to adoption can often be a long and hard one. But God had different plans...

Last week they were matched with a beautiful expectant mother. That was on Wednesday evening and the next morning they woke up to a call that she was in labor. They hopped the quickest flight there to meet their daughter and her birth mother that they describe as the most selfless, strong, and loving woman.

Literally overnight Dan and Kelsi became parents.

In a matter of months with Christian Adoption Consultants they had a family of three.

In a matter of hours they met their daughter.

And in a matter of seconds this sweet baby had all of their hearts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

congratulations Alan and Karen

I met Alan and Karen in a coffee shop in April. Over coffee we talked about their dreams of adoption, the wait they had already had, and they asked a lot of good questions. We chatted, they took notes, and at the end of the conversation had a new path for their adoption with Christian Adoption Consultants.

Alan and Karen were diligent in their adoption process. Wanting to ensure the best birth parent care, the most ethical adoption, and the right fit for their family, we had a lot of conversations about adoption together. But more than the mechanics of it all, Alan and Karen had a heart to have a baby. They were eager to welcome a little one into their home and become a family of three.

As each situation was sent to them: a birth family expecting a little one and seeking an adoptive family, they thought and prayed through each one. And three months into the process, they were matched. An expectant mother due with a sweet baby girl. The following days were spent preparing a nursery and getting to know the birth family.

Six weeks later this precious girl arrived on the scene a few weeks earlier than expected. And although she is small, she has been nothing short of miraculous. 

A sweet little miracle.

A huge answer to countless prayers.

And the newest addition to this family of three. 

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