Tuesday, July 19, 2016

for birth parents (a guide for your adoption)

My work in adoption has run the gamut. I've worked with adoptive families as a social worker completing their home study, as a consultant working with adoptive families around the US, and as a birth parent counselor. I've walked with mamas as they've bravely decided to make an adoption plan for their babies. I've met with them over coffee, attended doctor's appointments and sonograms, held their hand during labor, and cried with them in hospital rooms.

In my work as an adoption consultant now, most of my interaction and education is with adoptive families. But I thought today I would use this space for expectant and birth families. 


Making an adoption plan for your baby is a huge decision. And finding the right people to walk with you, an adoptive family to raise your child, and doing your best to make sure you and your baby are taken care of in the midst of your pregnancy (and long after) are critical to the process.

Here's a list of things to think about as you move forward on your adoption journey.

How to find a good agency or attorney
  • Get a few references. Instead of googling an agency or attorney, get a personal recommendation. Good places to call are pregnancy resource centers or hospital social workers. They work often with adoption agencies and attorneys and can point you to the best in your area.
  • Make sure they offer quality birth parent care and counseling. This is one of the biggest keys to a smooth adoption process. You want to find a birth parent counselor that has genuine care and compassion for you, allows you to work through your decision, and is willing to answer all of your questions. Typically agencies all have a birth parent counselor. If you decide to do a private adoption and work with only an attorney, make sure a birth parent counselor is still available to you. And most importantly, find one that will support you if you decide to parent your child and get you the support and resources you need for parenting. 
  • Look for how thorough they are with the adoption process. Adoption is complex and can be complicated. Make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a birth parent, are aware of the laws that govern adoption in your state, have a clear understanding of the birth father's rights, and feel educated about the adoption process and what to anticipate. 


How to find adoptive parents who are the right fit
  • Look for what's important to you. In making an adoption plan, you get to choose the family that will raise your baby. This means you get to look for a family that shares similar values and faith if you want. Or a family that values education, loves the outdoors, or has a love of animals. Are siblings important to you? Or maybe a family that isn't able to have children biologically? Or possibly a family who is already raising an adopted child or a child of the same race? These are all things you can consider when choosing the adoptive couple.
  • Go with your gut. So many women I've talked to felt a connection they couldn't put into words when they viewed their adoptive family's profile or met them for the first time. Don't look for a perfect family (since they don't exist); look for a family that is perfect for you. Look for a family that is sincere, transparent, and will love your baby unconditionally.
  • Consider your desires for openness. Are you looking for a closed, semi-open, or open adoption in ongoing relationship with your child and their adoptive family? In light of the relationship you desire, does geography matter to you? Make sure you find an adoptive family who desires the same kind of relationship moving forward and will honor your desires for ongoing contact. You can learn much more about the kinds of opennessmyths of open adoption, and tips for healthy open adoption on these links.


How to create a birth plan for the hospital
  • What is a birth plan? An adoption hospital plan communicates to your doctor, the hospital staff, adoption professionals, and adoptive family your desires for your stay in the hospital. It reviews labor, delivery, and the several days post-partum in regards to your wishes for you and your baby. 
  • Include all important aspects of your hospital stay. Creating a hospital plan during your last trimester will help you make important decisions like who you want in the delivery room with you, if you want to hold and care for the baby, and how involved you want the adoptive family during this time. Having a thorough birth plan can help you navigate the intense days of your hospital stay, communicate your desires to others, and give your heart what you need as you prepare for placing your baby with another family.
  • Remember that you're in charge of your birth plan. Your hospital plan can help you feel empowered and give you what you need during your days in the hospital. Feel free to change or update your plan as your desires can change; the best hospital plan is flexible to meet your needs. You can learn more about birth plans here and see a sample birth plan to use as well. 


How to take care of yourself after your baby's birth
  • Take advantage of counseling as long as you need to.  I know a lot of women struggle to continue talking to their birth parent counselor or to reach out after their baby has been placed. In some ways you might be eager to be done with the pregnancy and move on with your life. But in some significant ways there's still much to process. Every good adoption agency and attorney has ongoing birth parent services available long after you leave the hospital. Don't hesitate to reach out for someone to talk to or even for professional counseling.
  • Enlist the support system around you. Be sure to share honestly with trusted friends and family how you're doing. Surround yourself with people who are understanding when you have hard days and encourage your healing. Take the time to bring those people into your story and entrust them with how you're doing so they can offer their support.
  • Attend birth parent support groups. Ask your agency, attorney, and even your hospital if there are local support groups in your area. Often these groups meet monthly and are full of other women who have recently placed their babies and even women who have children who are older who have been adopted. This can be a rich space to be able to share with women who understand much of what you've been through. If you can't find a group locally, or would prefer to create a community online instead, some of my favorites are Birth Mom Buds and Brave Love.
  • Give yourself space and grace to heal. Adoption is bittersweet and full of some of the best and worst experiences of your life. Making the incredible brave and selfless decision to make an adoption plan and deciding that is best for your child will undoubtedly be one of the hardest things you will ever walk through. Anticipate grief and allow yourself time to experience all of the emotions that will come with placing your baby through adoption.

As you walk the hard and beautiful road of adoption, you decide to make some incredibly selfless choices. In the midst of it, don't forget to surround yourself with those who will also care for you. Choose adoption professionals, an adoptive family, and family and friends who will offer the support and encouragement you need to make the best plan for you and your baby moving forward. 




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

high tea (and other ways I date my daughter)

I've been thinking about ways to be more purposeful in my conversations with Isabelle. I know in a blink I'll be dropping her off at college and wondering if I had enough time to tell her everything I want her to know deep down in her soul. I often find myself catching my breath looking at her and realizing she looks less and less like a little girl every day.


I have so much to tell her; so much I'm still learning myself. What it means to be a woman. What true beauty is. Where real value is found. How to live out of an identity as God's daughter. In a world fighting against all of this, I want her to hear from me, clearly and often, that her character is more important than her curves. 

So over the past year Isabelle and I have gone out on special mommy/daughter dates. They've been different than the typical running out to go shopping or heading to Starbucks together to grab our favorite drink and play cards. I plan and prepare and pray for our time together.


We've had high tea at the Intercontinental and talked about where our value comes from. We giggled over petit fours and talked about identity and I might have cried a little. We've gone for facials and a skincare tutorial at a beauty counter to talk about the world's false image vs. true beauty. Isabelle picked out her first lipgloss (mama had to steer her to the neutrals) and talked about our quirks celebrated our uniqueness. We've had our nails done at the spa and discussed self-care and healthy body image.


I've used this book as a guide. Although some of it hasn't been a great fit for us (even Isabelle rolls her eyes at some of it), it's been a fantastic foundation that I can use to get good beginning ideas to fit our relationship and the conversations I want to have. Isabelle and I have even gone to a Secret Keeper Girl event when they were in town and loved it.

Isabelle is 10. Conversations revolve now around how to be a good friend, modesty, and Harry Potter. I'm praying this paves the way in the next few years for the harder conversations about injustice and boys and purity. The topics might change but at the heart of it the message won't. I pray God will give me wisdom to always talk about what it looks like to love Jesus and those around her.


I want her to be brave and kind. I want her to love Jesus fiercely and love others relentlessly. I want her to have the courage to be exactly who God made her. To be confident in her own skin and freckles and lanky frame. And to model that same confidence when wrinkles start to appear and her body carries more curves from babies.


As a mama, these kinds of conversations come up all the time. While we watch TV, driving in the car, and talking about our day. But I decided I wanted to be purposeful and plan out specific times that Isabelle would remember. Connecting them to special times we spend together; laughing over cheesecake or at the beauty counter, my prayer is that God would use these times for the truth to go down deep into her bones.  I'm praying she remembers just a little of what we talk as she braves the world these next few years as a young girl.

I want Bella to know if her identify is found in Him, nothing can shake her.










Thursday, July 7, 2016

what if we never get chosen (every hopeful adoptive parents' fear)

It's one of the biggest fears of every adoptive couple I've met. The nagging thought that maybe you'll never be chosen by expectant parents. 


In the beginning, the adoption process is a lot of work. Stacks of paperwork, home visits and doctors appointments for the home study keep a couple busy. And when that is finished creating a profile and applying to agencies and grants keep you occupied.

But then you wait.

The home study is complete. The profile is printed. The grant money is waiting. And the nursery is empty.

For an adoptive family, this process can be agonizing. And for couple who have gone through the pain of infertility, it can feel eerily similar to waiting for a positive pregnancy test. It's easy to let doubts creep in, feel hope fade, and become discouraged.

So how do you get through this time and push through the fear that you'll never be chosen? Here's a few tips to help during the wait.


Don't believe the myth of the perfect family

It's easy to think if you haven't been chosen that there's something "wrong" with you. There are still age-old ideas that every expectant parent is looking for a specific "type" of family, but it's simply not true. As unique as each birth mother is, her idea of the "perfect adoptive family" is just as unique. I don't believe in the idea of a perfect adoptive family. But I've seen over and over again God make a match that is perfect for a birth and adoptive family.


Manage your expectations

Every adoptive family has a different story. When you know other's stories, it's easy to write yourself into them and assume yours might be similar. I've had families match the first time they presented, and the 20th. There are couples who have needed to hop a flight within an hour of finding out they were becoming parents and others who have waited months. And each one looking back would say that it worked out perfectly in the end since their son or daughter came to them that way. Unlike pregnancy, adoption doesn't have a due date. You won't know how or when your story will unfold. Being able to be flexible and finding peace and joy in the midst of the unknown will keep you sane. 


Take the opportunity to plan and pray

Use this time of waiting for a little one to join your family to the fullest. Complete a house project, decorate the nursery, or go on a vacation. I have a lot of families who choose to go on a "babymoon" and enjoy some of their last days baby-free. And this time can be an incredible opportunity to pray in a unique way, not just for your future baby and her birth family, but for all of the expectant families you hear about. As you read different situations and expectant mother's stories, you have a beautiful chance to pray specifically for her and her baby like few others do.


Try something new

Rethinking your game plan might be a good idea. Are your preferences too narrow? Have you hired an adoption consultant to walk with you and expand your ability to apply to more agencies and see more situations? Would it help to update your profile or have an adoption professional review it? Sometimes taking a step back, reevaluating your plans, and changing your path a bit might help jump start things.


Give yourself grace

Adoption is a unique experience to go through and it's important to give yourself space to experience all of the emotions that come with it. Remember basic things like eating right and getting enough exercise can do wonders for your stress levels. Find a solid support system and learn from other adoptive families a little farther along in the journey. And remember to extend extra grace to your spouse as well since the adoption process can be especially stressful on a marriage.  


Trust God with the process

Ultimately, the same God that called you to this process will be faithful to you. Remember that often God is working, even when we can see it. Cling to God's truth, his promises, and his ability to be enough for you. 

God writes the best stories. His plans are perfect. And he is never slow in keeping his promises.



Monday, June 27, 2016

losing their childhood

It's been awhile since I've shared a more personal post here. Much of it has to do with so many beautiful adoption stories to share of my adoptive families. And if I'm honest, some of it is because it's hard to put into words what's been happening in our family. And hard to put in such a public space. But I've learned these last few years that transparency has been freeing and healing for our family and for my heart. And if I boil it down, the real goal of this blog is to tell stories of God's goodness, for adoptive families and my own.


It's no secret our family has been through a lot. Just click on the marriage tab on the blog and you'll get a glimpse into our story. One of the hardest things about going through a crisis as a family is watching our kids lose some of their childhood. They've had to deal with hard things, lost some innocence, had to deal with loss, and experienced things no one would choose for their children. 

The conversations we've had to have with them are hard enough to have with adult or even teenage children. But having them in grade school has been challenging. We've begged God for wisdom, and received godly counsel. We've fumbled through hundreds of questions that make you catch your breath and say a quick prayer asking for divine insight and direction before answering. And shepherding little hearts when you have a broken heart yourself is hard and exhausting.

As a mother, if I'm honest, it's been heartbreaking. Jamy and I have recently been grieving the loss of some of our kid's childhood in the midst of all of this. It's easy to think we've failed as parents. That our sin and brokenness has ruined them for life.

But this is not the whole story. This hasn't been all that's included in loss.


My kids are learning and experiencing the gospel in real and personal ways. When we talk about God's redemptive power, we note ways he has redeemed our family. When we talk about how God is our refuge, we can list ways we've run to him and ways he's cared for us. When we talk about miracles, we can point to amazing events in our family.

Gathered around the dinner table, we can talk and laugh and remember all of the ways God has cared for us. Huddled over them tucked in their beds we can whisper the promises again that He's given us. Crying on the couch we can cry out to God together asking Him to continue to be near.

Just last weekend for Father's Day, Jamy sat the family down and acknowledged the reality that this side of Heaven, all celebrations are tinged with some sort of grief. We talked about our past year and he gave us all gifts; leather cords to remind us how strong our family can be together with God's help (A cord of three stands is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12). We've learned that a good father points to an even better one. That our parenting isn't amazing because of what we do, but directs them to their desperate need for a Savior.


We've been knit together as a family. Going though hard things together has bonded us in incredible ways. Our kids come to us with questions, knowing they can ask anything and we'll always have an honest (and age-appropriate) answer. We often talk about fears and faith. We talk through hard things. And they are learning that we are a team; always working together for the good of our family.

My prayer is that when they look back at this season in their young lives, they can pinpoint the space when their faith became their own, they experienced Jesus in a real and personal way, and they grew to understand the gospel more fully. And looking back over these last several years and thinking about what I really want for my children, I realize my deepest desires are actually being met. Both Isabelle and Jackson came to trust Jesus during this time. 

Would I have ever chosen this for my kids? Never. Was it God's plan for sin and brokenness to rock our family? I don't think so. But in his sovereignty, he has worked it all for our good and His glory, even for Isabelle and Jackson.

Maybe your story is a bit like ours. Your family has experienced some kind of loss and walked through things you would have never chosen if you could have written it yourself. When I think of the times of the deepest change in my life, when I learned to trust Jesus even more, it's aways during seasons of suffering and hardship. At the end of the day, I can rest in the truth that God has been sovereign over our suffering; even our kid's.

So my kids have lost some of their childhood. But they've gained a personal and deep knowledge of a God who loves them. A Rescuer who saves them. A Redeemer who restores them. A Heavenly Father who never leaves them. 



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

must have baby items for adoptive families

Really this blog could easily be called "Must Have Baby Items for Parents," but I wanted to compile a list of favorite baby supplies from adoptive families. Any parents bringing home a new baby love to hear from others what worked for them and what they couldn't live without.

From my adoptive families, here's a list of some of their favs:


Feeding




A lot of parents were in agreement that these bottles were some of the best out there. Designed specifically to reduce feeding problems like gassiness and colic, my families agreed that these bottles led to some happy feeding.


Sara was thankful they were introduced to this bottle early on. "This bottle keeps the pre-measured formula on the bottom and the water on the top. We'd fill these before we went to bed and keep one on my night stand and one on my husbands. Then, when little E would wake up, we could just push the button on the bottom of the bottle, shake up the formula and feed. We didn't have to go downstairs, measure or pour, nor did we have to turn on the lights! We had 2 4oz ones, and they worked great for the diaper bag too." Sara also noted the Dr. Brown's Formula Pitcher allowed them to prep several bottles at once.



This fancy machine sterilizes baby's bottles in 8 minutes and dries them in your choices of 30, 45, or 60 minute cycles.. Brand new adoptive mama, Kristen said, "We have found the Baby Brezza sterilizer to be a lifesaver. We thoroughly rinse our bottles and just pop them in the sterilizer and they are sterilized and DRIED in 45 minutes. Saves us so much time and headaches and sink space."





Katie, two time adoptive mama, shared this is one of her secrets: diapers and wipes delivered to her door. "No having to run out in the middle of the night for diapers and wipes! We've had very little diaper rash with either of our littles, and I think the diaper choice was one reason why!"



Sleeping



These blankets should be at the top of every mama's wish list. Soft, versatile, and coming in adorable prints, Shelley notes they are worth every penny. Elyse used these blankets for all of her three boys. "We love he Aden and Anais Muslin Blankets. We have a different print for each child. They are great for swaddling and can be used as a comfort item as the baby get older. I also love them because they are light weight and do a great job at blocking sunlight when we are outside."



This was a huge favorite with lots of adoptive moms. It's especially great for travel and perfect to have in the hotel if you're waiting out approval to head home after the baby is born. Joy shared "The Rock 'n Play was a life saver for her "bed" while away from home. She slept in it for a few months after we got home."  Colleen had the same thoughts: "The newborn rock and play sleeper was perfect for travel. Easy to fold and carry. We loved it!' 

*Make sure to get the newest model that locks into place for stationary use.


This sound machine is a stable for a lot of adoptive families in the nursery. It creates the sound of soothing natural air to help babies fall and stay asleep. One mom noted it helped baby sleep while the older kids create a racket!






Corey, an adoptive mama of twins who just welcomed baby number three says "These swaddles were a life saver with the twins. They loved being swaddled up tight like little burritos." Sara commented that these helped with their son's transition to the crib.  Lindsey also likes SwaddleMe's Sleep Sacks. "It zips top to bottom for easy diaper changes and is available in muslin for hot Texas nights."



Lesley, new mama to twin boys said this was a lifesaver!  "I had to hunt these down and the boys and I finally got some sleep with these (times two!)"



Baby Wearing

*Baby wraps are personally one of my favorite baby items for adoptive families because they do so much to promote bonding and attachment.





Many mamas noted these their all time favorite carriers for their littles. Shelley shared, "Solly Baby wrap has been a life saver with three under three!" I love the design choices (even ones for children for their dolls!) and the price point is great for a baby wrap.



Beth, a foster mama, shared how well this worked for her: "This soothe shirt is amazing! Looks like a cute tank top but has a pouch to easily slip your baby into without the hassle of a wrap. It is just tight enough to snuggle your baby perfectly. At first it fit a little tight but after a few wears it stretched out to be perfectly comfortable. I loved it for my newborn I was taking care of and I was so sad when he grew out of it. I literally wore it every day and I never had a problem with him slipping down." Another perk? A portion of all sales go to mother's in Africa.



Nursery



Corey said, "We love our wubbanub pacis. LG can grab and snuggle them, and if it drops, there's more to catch. Harder to lose, too."

Ruthie shared "The best baby product ever...the Boppy lounger! I get it for all my new mama friends now. It's the perfect little pod to lay baby in for the first three months and set it on the bed, table, ground, couch." Shelley, mama to three under three, agreed. "The Boppy Company Newborn lounger is amazing (I'm also a big fan of the original Boppy pillow, but recently discovered the lounger and love it)!" Another favorite was the Galt Toys Playnest.


Lots of parents noted this in their "must have" list. Melissa is balancing her newly adopted daughter and their six older children and found her Pack 'n Play to be a lifesaver. "My mom and Grandma went in on this together for us, after I debated them about not needing it! Turns out it's my go to to. I use the changing table part all day long, and the bouncer seat turned into a HUGE life saver as it was the only place little girl would sleep for the first couple months. She plays in the bassinet part now and the bouncer seat is still used sometimes at night, but we are transitioning her to her bed now."

Another favorite play yard and portable crib is the Nuna Sena. Amy notes "it's truly as easy to work and take along as it claims to be! It's AMAZING!"



Sara shared "We didn't think we'd use a video monitor, but we love it. We have the Summer Infant In View Digital Video Monitor. (We also added a noise machine and room darkening curtains.) These have been some of our favorite things to help establish a great sleep routine."



Traveling

If adopting out of state, adoptive families often need to wait it out in a hotel for a week or two while waiting for clearance to come home. In addition to the Rock n' Play noted above (perfect for a portable crib while traveling), here's a few other favorite things.





Although this isn't a baby item, this is a great resource for adoptive families, allowing you to rent a house for half the price of a hotel. Sara noted, "The house was amazing, and bringing help was a life saver."





Similar to VRBO, this site allows you to book a home from a local host. Kate and her family used this service when their son was born and it was a huge blessing. "We knew Brendan was going to have a long NICU stay, and we really didn't want to live in a hotel for a month. We used airbnb. It saved our sanity! We brought my mom with us on our trip to help with our girls, and I could not imagine life cramped in two tiny hotel rooms. We rented a 3 bedroom house for less than a hotel. We were able to cook our own food, and basically live life as normally as possible. It was a LONG three weeks, and renting the house was one of the best decisions we made. Totally worth it."


So there you have it. A good list to get your baby registry and wish list started. Anything you would add to the list that you can't live without? Add it to the comments and share!


Friday, June 17, 2016

adoption through the eyes of fathers

Father's Day is just around the corner and I've been struck all week with the impact adoption has had on the fathers I've been honored to walk with. I wanted to celebrate by sharing thoughts about fatherhood and adoption directly from four fathers and give you a glimpse into their father's heart.



Being a dad has made me appreciate what's really important in life. It has taught me that the little things are actually big things, like hugs and smiles and hearing the words, "Love you," and "Dadda" as well as the laughs and giggles. The fact that three lives are molded by my example is an honor and one I am grateful for. - Chris


Being a dad gives me so much joy. When my wife and I had our daughter it was the most amazing feeling to hold our baby girl for the first time. Even with being adopted myself I still wondered if I would feel differently about my adopted child...as opposed to our biological child. From the second I held Davis it has always been very clear that I feel the same about him as I do our daughter. He has been the most amazing blessing and fits completely perfectly into our family. The love and pride I feel from being a dad to Rylee and Davis is the best. The bond I feel with both of them is like nothing I could have imagined! - Ryan


I think my perspective of parental unconditional love has changed since becoming a father myself. I know my parents love me unconditionally but being on the other side of that as a dad makes me appreciate it more. I also take less for granted. I try to be in the present moment all the time now because it goes so fast. I've learned to appreciate the "small" things more. I love everything about being a dad even changing diapers, picking up messes and making sacrifices. My favorite part of being a dad is watching Jonah learn new things and experience the world around him. A child's development physically, intellectually and emotionally is really fascinating to me. Something I didn't expect from adoption is how much love I would have for our child's birth family. This is my second Father's Day, but it seems to mean even more than last year. I had only been a dad for about a month and it was a surreal time with Jonah's birth, placement, travel, etc. I was excited to finally have the title but had no idea what i was doing. Now that I've been a dad for over a year it feels more real. Jonah calls me "dada" and that is something I'll never get tired of hearing. - Tyler



Adoption definitely changed me in the sense that I'm so much more compassionate and open to loving unconditionally in ways I didn't know I could! Adoption has taught me to put all of my trust in God even when things seem so uncertain, He writes the best stories for families. My favorite thing about being a parent is getting to watch our son grow, learn and explore. I appreciate little life moments because those little things make for a lot of big memories, that I cherish. I feel very honored that God chose me to be his father, and found me worthy to guide, lead, and love him through this life. - Alex


Interested in changing your life through adoption? Our Father's Day Discount runs through today!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

adoption story: kevin and crystal

Does God really have a plan? 


That was the question Kevin and Crystal asked themselves almost daily on their journey to become a family. Their decision to add children started over six years ago when they became foster parents. They also decided to pursue adoption; through the foster care system and through domestic infant adoption with the help of Christian Adoption Consultants.

But that question hung in the air: Does God really have a plan?

We were foster parents for over 6 years. God blessed us with three boys, two we adopted after 774 days in foster care. They were ours forever to love on. 


Yet in our hearts we had prayed since getting married in 2003 for a little girl. I’ve always wanted a girl to raise as a Godly princess, whose heart would seek Him, be a girlie girl in a tutu with rain boots ready to get muddy when given the opportunity. We had seen friends adopt domestically but the costs scared us away many times.  

God was big in our lives but not with our finances; it was the one thing we were willing to give to others but not to our prayer we had begged God to answer. Kevin and I filled the forms and became home study approved, and yet every fundraiser fell through, our agency fell through, and we got many “not chosen” emails. God wasn’t in it. Many nights we would sit in our room and cry out to God to take the desire away to have a princess. 

However, I kept the little girl shoes on my dresser asking for them to be filled. Few weeks passed as it all fell through and our eight year old son asked us to foster again. Within weeks we were approved for a local agency. Through this we asked God to use our story of fostering to impact our community. Almost a year ago we got a call for a GIRL! A beautiful spunky four year old girl who needed a forever family. 



We said yes. God heard our yes and said I’m not done yet! 

Susan was amazing and patient with us as we went back and forth with plans and questions. This time we said we are ALL in. Our finances, faith and all. We got an email of a case that would make you want to run far away. So many unknowns…but we knew this was it! 

That email came mid-May. Kevin and Crystal were chosen and just two weeks later met their daughter and her amazing birth mother.

I could share a ton on our last week of prepping, waiting on the call to fly out, being on the road within an hour, running through the airport, and getting to the hospital to our daughter and her birth mom. I really wanted to know our birth mom. I thought I knew exactly how I would feel, what I would think and say, yet it happened so fast. All I could do is love. She loved this baby girl just as much as I did.


Kevin and Crystal spent those days in the hospital with their daughter and her birth mother, soaking up every moment they could with this woman who had overcome so much to give birth to the daughter they shared. 


When we said goodbye to her, we gave her a hug and a high five as she walked out telling her she’s got this; she can make a change in her life and we will be cheering her on through it!

We named our daughter Eliana which means God heard. We couldn't think of a more perfect name.
God not only answered our prayer but doubled it with our two girls!

Six years ago Kevin and Crystal had a family of two. This year they will celebrate as a family of seven!

God had a plan the whole time...



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