Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Adoption Story: Nate and Michelle

The first part of Nate and Michelle's story reads like every hopeful adoptive parent's worst nightmare. Some of their greatest fears came to fruition...several times over. But what they learned and how they loved through the process made all of the difference. I had the honor of walking with them and seeing firsthand their faith in a God who answers prayers: even when the answers are so different than what we want at first. Today Michelle shares their winding journey to their daughter and the faithfulness of God at every turn.


This our story, (its messy so bare with us), but its raw, real and has the perfect ending!

In June of 2017, my husband, me, and our two year old son fearlessly started our adoption journey. A little backstory….We had easily become pregnant with our son through fertility treatments in 2015. A year later we started the process again for baby #2. Unlike our first experience, we had six failed IUI treatments and a pregnancy loss that was devastating to us. I was at my end emotionally and fertility treatments just didn’t feel right anymore. We had always planned on adopting in the future and started to feel like maybe this was the intended route to expand our family. 

On those summer evenings in 2017, we tackled mounds of paperwork at lightning speed and two months later we were home study approved. Within three weeks of presenting our profile book, we were matched for the first time. We were over the moon and felt so blessed. We knew God had called us to expand our family through adoption, but we never thought it would be this smooth. We felt comforted that we had heard right and we were indeed being obedient. That feeling quickly faded when our adoption failed two months later. We were then matched a month later for the second time. It didn’t last long and three weeks later we got the dreaded phone call that expectant mom was on a bus back to her hometown and was going to parent. Six weeks later we we got a surprise stork drop that ended the next day after flying to the hospital to meet baby. A month later we were matched for yes, the fourth time. We spent two months getting to know the expectant couple and building a relationship. Two weeks before the due date we again got the dreaded call (I was literally standing at the post office mailing them a mother's day gift). The expectant parents had family come forward to support them and had decided to parent. Within a nine month span we had a total of four failed adoptions. My heart was broken, I questioned whether adoption was right for us, and I spiraled into a depression. I completely lost myself and any sense of control in my life. We were told that our situation was unique and that a perfect baby was somewhere out there. In those dark days, those kind words were hard to believe. But there was something deep inside Nate and me that told us we couldn’t stop. I kept getting this nagging feeling that our timing was off, but victory was on the horizon. We just needed to be available. So “be available” is what we did.

While this concept was tremendously hard in the middle of the storm, I now look back and know that we were able to be a support to four women who had no idea if they could be a mom or not. We gave those woman space and the privilege to decide to parent those babies. They were never ours to begin with. We just needed to wait, pray and keep loving on these women.

“Dear Children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and truth.” 1 John 3:18

Fast forward to June 2018. We had presented to a brave birth mom earlier in the week and we were waiting to hear a yes or no. We got a call one night from our matching coordinator, “Michelle and Nate, I’m just wondering if you guys would be willing to drive five hours out of state and meet birth mom this weekend?’” I should also mention that baby girl was due in two weeks. We thought about for a complete two minutes and then said, “Well hey, why not.” We had already endured so much at this point, countless phone conversations with expectant moms, and a stork drop that had been disrupted after we held baby in our arms for 3 hours. We started packing bags and went into the weekend with the intention of loving on this woman and maybe have a fun weekend getaway.

We met the expectant mom at a restaurant after driving all day with our now three year old. The second she walked in the door she gave us a big smile and rushed to hug me. She was gorgeous inside and out and we instantly felt a strong connection. We talked for hours and she told us that she trusted us to raise her little girl. I felt her tummy and took pictures with a sweet girl still inside. We left that weekend feeling scared yet hopeful. A feeling we hadn’t felt in a long time.

Two weeks later got the call. “Expectant mom has decided to be induced tomorrow at 8am, can you come tonight?” We left our son with family and raced out of state. The entire drive there I prayed that baby girl would come on her own. I knew expectant mama didn’t want to be induced, but she felt it was time. 

We pulled into our hotel around midnight and hardly slept. After tossing and turning for a few hours it was time to get ready and go to the hospital. I felt sick, I couldn’t eat and I wanted to vomit. I sat in that passenger seat with a Trader Joe’s bag in my lap thinking my water and coffee was not going to settle. The thought of walking into another hospital and driving away again with an empty car seat made my head spin. I prayed and prayed and in the midst of my crazy, the phone rang. It was our case worker. “Nate and Michelle are you guys close?" (I thought to myself, here we go again, the dreaded call.) “Expectant mama went into natural labor at 5am. She’s not getting induced, she’s at the hospital and should deliver anytime. She wants both of you in the delivery room.” My heart literally skipped an entire beat. We had just pulled into the hospital parking lot thinking we would be sitting in a waiting room for hours while baby was born. We ran faster than our minds could process and made it upstairs to the delivery room just as expectant moms water was being broken. Within an hour the sweetest baby girl we had ever seen was delivered as I held her tummy mamas leg. I cut her umbilical cord and wiped sweat off her birth mamas forehead as she held her on her chest. We were asked what here name was. We had settled on Aria, Lioness of God, and then asked her tummy mama to choose the middle name. That brave woman then placed that precious baby in my arms and I instantly felt calm. After a year of stress and nerves I felt a complete peace wash over us. We had an instant love for that sweet girl and we knew she was what we waited for.



We spent the next 24 hours loving on birth mom. We made sure to leave and go get lunch and coffee so that they could have quality time. I wanted to hold Aria every second we were at the hospital, but I kept being reminded that this was their time. I watched her birth mama give her the first bath and tenderly love on her. We took a million pictures of them together. Nate and I used this time to get to know birth mom, her favorite childhood memories and foods. We wanted to be able to tell Aria about her and we knew this adoption had the potential to be open. We agreed to yearly visits and fostering a relationship between our families forever.

The next day that courageous woman made me a mama for a second time. I will never forget watching out the hospital window as she walked out of the hospital with her case worker. I was overjoyed to be chosen to raise this little girl, but also felt heartbroken for what her birth mom was going to walk through in the next months, years...forever. The mix of emotions is something I can’t explain. All we know is that we are the most blessed family in the world to have been given the great privilege to raise this woman's child. Months of heartbreak and empty car seats were suddenly okay. They brought us to our daughter, the one we were meant to raise all along.

Sometimes we get a "yes" from God, but it doesn’t necessarily mean right now. I learned that the timing was his, all we needed to do was be available and show his abounding and limitless love to others.

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14


Aria is the light of our lives. She has provided a sense of wholeness in our family that we all needed. She is fierce, bold and one spoiled little princess! We hope our story inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and act in love.

With love,
Nate, Michelle, Jonah, and Aria



Monday, April 1, 2019

Adoption Story: Erik and Sarah

I knew the moment I first talked with Erik and Sarah that they had huge hearts. Their love for each other and their son was so evident. And they were developing a love for adoption. From the very beginning, they knew they didn't just want to open their arms and hearts to a baby. They wanted to love an expectant and birth family as well. Erik and Sarah didn't know all this would mean for them as they went through their adoption journey. It would include heartbreak and hardship. But it would also include hope and an unexpected and beautiful relationship with a couple that they treasure. Sarah graciously shares their journey to parenthood and the family they couldn't have known they would find on the other side.


It has taken me 9 months to put our story on paper because, frankly, I just did not know if I could write it down. The adoption process and the wait felt both long and short. It pulled my husband and I together some days and apart other days. It brought us great sadness and great happiness, sometimes even on the same day. But now we are here, with this precious little girl and in an open adoption with her birth parents. It was all worth it. Here is our story.

I will lay out our timeline because while we were waiting I would read others’ stories and search like mad for specific details to try and figure out how much time they spent at each step. In early 2017 we went through a number of failed rounds of IVF and we were at a crossroads. I was ready to continue IVF at any and all cost, my husband, not so much. He felt he was done. He was satisfied with our family, he wanted me to be satisfied too. We had a wonderful two year old boy who was created by IVF, my husband was happy.   

A few days later my best friend was telling me about a friend-of-a-friend who had adopted two children through Susan VanSyckle. A week later I was on the phone with Jamie (thank you!), who opened her heart and story and explained so much to me.  Father’s Day, June 15th, 2017, I brought up adoption to my husband and he was willing to consider it with me. So I emailed Susan that night and we signed up with Christian Adoption Consultants that week. Three months later, mid-September, we had completed our Home Study, Profile Photo Book and Agency Applications. We started receiving profiles of expectant mothers in October.  

In November we matched with an expectant mother in Florida due in January. Two weeks later we flew to Florida to have dinner with the expectant mother. We felt we hit it off great with her. We returned to Florida for the birth of this baby boy in mid-January 2018, however, the day after the birth she decided to parent. It was the right decision for her, but it was a deep dark time for us. We returned to Virginia and we decided to take a break. Well, we really did not know what we wanted to do, we were just existing. We tried to simply get through it one day at a time. Our friends and family supported us. It was so hard, but we started to breath a little easier as the days turned into weeks. 

In March 2018, another agency emailed with me and asked if I was going to complete our application with their agency. It was an agency that I had dropped earlier because we had matched in Florida before we had a chance to complete their paperwork. I told her I would go ahead and complete it but we did not know if we were going to try for another adoption. A few days later we decided to go on a family vacation, just us and our son.  The day before we left for the vacation we received a profile of an expectant mother sent to us from that agency. We decided to submit our profile book to the expectant mother. We started to feel hopeful again. On vacation we learned the expectant mother had narrowed it down to us and another couple. The last day of vacation we found out that we were not chosen. However, two weeks later, early April, that same agency sent us another situation, of similar characteristics, because she felt it was a possibility for us. We again submitted our profile book to this new couple because we liked everything we read about them. That same evening we found out they had chosen us. A week later we found ourselves talking to them on the phone. They could not have been any sweeter, cooler or more open. We were now in our second match in approximately five months. We flew to Texas the next weekend to meet this new couple in person. Later, a c-section was scheduled for June. We waited and built our relationship via text and phone calls with this couple. Baby Victoria Alair was born on June 21, 2018. For those who are counting, our journey took exactly 1 year and 7 days from the day I emailed Susan until we were holding a baby.

We named her Victoria Alair. Victoria is after her birth mother. Her middle name is my middle name.  I intended to name her Alair Victoria, but it just didn’t feel right, her birth mother came before me, her name should reflect such.


Post-birth was bitter sweet. We now felt like her birth parents were our friends. We were in one room crazy happy. They were in another experiencing deep pain. Paperwork was signed in the hospital at the 72 hour mark. We then checked into a hotel with baby Victoria to wait out ICPC. Victoria's birth parents visited us in our hotel every night. I know it was not easy for them to show up, to see us with their baby, but they did it because they really wanted to see her and connect with her. If you have not been in this spot yet, please do not let our situation scare you away from adoption. It was only because of these two particular people that it was okay with us. Had it been under different circumstances, we would not have been as open or willing to start the openness immediately. 

ICPC took the full two weeks. We were given permission to return to Virginia on July 7th. I jumped immediately to book a flight, I was dying to reunite with our son. Baby Victoria slept that morning while Momma Victoria helped me pack. (My husband had already left Texas the prior week because he needed to return to work). Momma Victoria followed behind me in her car as I drove with baby Victoria to the airport. She drove straight, as I veered off the road towards the airport. I will never forget that moment.  


Now we have this precious bundle of joy between the four of us. We have a family consisting of birth parents and an adopted child that we never imagined in our wildest dreams. However, we also have a daughter for which we have big hopes and dreams and birth parents who we have to thank for all of it. Daily my husband says we are blessed. I returned to Texas with baby Victoria when she was three months old for a quick three day visit. I know it was not easy for them, the wounds still so raw, but they wanted to see her and I wanted them to see her. They returned the favor when she was six months old by flying to Virginia for a four day stay with us during Christmas. We plan to see them again in Texas around her first birthday.

There is definitely a lot of unknowns between now and when baby Victoria is all grown up, but I am confident we will all just try and do the best we can for her, because we all love her.  

Monday, March 18, 2019

Adoption Story: Joe and Christine

Joe and Christine started with Christian Adoption Consultants on Valentine's Day of 2018. By Memorial Day they had completed a home study and by Halloween they were matched with an expectant family. By Valentine's Day this year, they celebrated as a family of three. Read today as Christine shares their journey to their son...


Joe and I struggled for about four years with the frustration, heartbreak, and emotional roller coaster of unexplained infertility. During these years, we underwent three rounds of IUI, one fresh cycle of IVF, and two frozen embryo transfers. Finally, the Lord started putting the idea of adoption in our hearts. Even though we knew this would entail more waiting, we were encouraged that it would be a different kind of waiting than what we experienced while trying to get pregnant. We felt that eventually, we would be matched with a baby through the journey of adoption and that was so refreshing and exciting. We felt as though so many burdens were lifted from our shoulders once we realized we were not in control of how our family was going to be started. We gradually learned to give up our own plans and timelines. Instead, we knew that the Lord had bigger and better plans and we only had to embrace his will for our lives. 

We signed on with Susan at Christian Adoption Consultants in February 2018 after hearing about a great experience from a college friend and her successful adoption journey. It was a smooth experience as she gave us all the information we needed for completing our home study, creating our profile, and researching agencies...we wouldn't have known where to begin on our own! From there, we had a finalized home study in May and were live with seven different agencies in the beginning of June 2018. During those next few months we had about ten situations forwarded to us, but to be honest, we felt so nervous to present and never felt ready to be matched with any of those specific moms. We knew that going forward we had to be more brave and trusting that if we were to present and get chosen then it was meant to be. We were reminded that God would not let us miss out on our baby and when the timing was right it would all fall in to place. Finally, in the beginning of October, we presented to a situation that appeared to be on the riskier side but Joe and I really felt called to all of the details (this was only the second time we presented). A few days later we heard that we were chosen by the expectant mom in Florida who was due with a baby boy on February 5, 2019! It was such a humbling feeling knowing that a complete stranger wanted to trust us and let us raise her son! 



The agency that we ended up working with likes for the prospective adoptive couple to come meet, have lunch with, and attend an ultrasound with the expectant mom shortly after having been matched. We were able to meet her for the first time in November 2018 and that was such a gift! From there, I kept in touch with the mom through text messages and sending care packages to her and her family over the holidays. Before we knew it, it was the new year and she was scheduled for a c-section on January 29, 2019. We traveled to her hometown a few days before and were able to see her and her family again the day before birth. It was all so surreal that we got to be in the waiting room during the procedure and saw this miracle of a baby in the nursery only minutes after he entered the world! The next three days seemed to last forever and go by so quickly all at the same time. I stayed with Harrison's first mom in her hospital room as she recovered for three nights. It was a blessing that we were able to develop a relationship while she became so comfortable with Joe and I and so confident in her decision. There were so many baby cuddles between the three of us in the nursery and we loved hearing about how he was similar, and different, from his siblings and birth parents. These are cherished memories that will be so special to share with Harrison someday when he is older! One of the most amazing moments was when his birth mom walked out with us upon discharge, put Harrison's car seat in the car, and kissed him goodbye as we left. She gave us such a gift and we hope we can make her as proud of us as we are of her. 


We are still praising God for this perfectly crafted story, for our blessing from above, for Harrison's birth mom and his life, and that he opened our hearts to adoption. Looking back on our story it is so beautiful to know that it was always meant to be Harrison. From the beginning of time, this specific baby was meant to be ours, and we were meant to be his parents. He is sovereign over the ups and the downs of infertility, adoption, and now, being parents and for that, we are so grateful to a faithful God! 

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy! Psalm 126:5
All glory to God who is able to do infinitely more than we might ask or think! Ephesians 3:20


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Adoption Story: Brad and Meredith

Brad and Meredith know about waiting. Waiting to find each other. Then waiting through pregnancy tests, failed fertility treatments, even lost little ones through miscarriage. Then the wait of adoption: the paperwork, the presenting, the hospital stay. Today Meredith honestly shares their journey of waiting for their family of two to become three. 



As I sit here just hours after our sweet girl’s finalization hearing was complete, I am awe struck by the magic that has developed in our lives in just a little over a year. How just thirteen months ago I was tearful as my husband and I closed the fertility chapter and laid that idea of having our “own” child to rest. And today I sit here tearful with a heart full of joy after a court hearing made our sweet girl officially our child! God’s work is never done at pushing us forward and helping us see beyond ourselves to what He has in store for us. 



After Brad and I married five and a half years ago in the most perfect outdoor wedding on our ranch surrounded by family and so much love, we were so ready to start the journey to building our family. I had so many dreams that day: all our children running around - red-headed and blues eyed, with the talent to gab like their dad, and my love for playing in the dirt. The best of both of us would be provided to our babies, but soon that dream became a living nightmare of infertility, miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage, repeated fertility treatments, medication and shots daily. It was nearly four years of some type of fertility treatment or hormones before we finally called it quits after our second miscarriage. That dream of having our “own” flesh and blood gone. 

So, we picked up the broken pieces and started the adoption process. We created our profile, filled out mounds of paperwork, and went through the most personal interviews in order to complete our home study (wow you learn a lot about yourself and your partner during this and it is hard!). We learned to give each other grace and the ability to process at different time frames through all of the questions that came up during the home study. We were finally home study approved about eight weeks after signing with Christian Adoption Consultants. We were so blessed to have collaborated with CAC through this process because it opened so may doors and opportunities with multiple agencies, allowing us to see more situations and have constant feed back on each situation to make sure we were seeing the whole picture and just not jumping in with the dream to have our family.  Susan was wonderful to bounce ideas off of and to help use work through situation after situation.

Brad and I had submitted to our 18th situation on September 6th, 2018 and weren't chosen - I cried all the way home and told my husband I just didn’t think I could do this and we needed to place things on hold until after the holidays. It had been an especially hard season grieving the loss of a miscarriage with an unexpected pregnancy and watching those close to us welcome babies into their homes. It is so hard hearing no after no on top of having lost another baby - it is impossible not to take it personally.

Brad and I started to plan where to go for Thanksgiving and Christmas that night so we could avoid family and friends, but mostly babies. The very next morning at work and saw a number pop up on my phone. Assuming it was a telemarketer I sent the call to voicemail. Brad texted me a few minutes later, “We finally got the call, we are matched!” I immediately called him back, then the agency, and learned we had just four weeks before the baby was due! Tears of joy ran down my face! 

We quickly got the ball moving with getting our paperwork and finances in order and arranging a trip to meet the expectant parents the next week. Meeting this sweet and scared young couple completely changed the game for my husband and I; we knew that we had to completely turn this over to God and let him lead because the reality was we had no control and this could completely go the other way. Having to opportunity to meet with both of her birth parents was amazing. We had the ability to get to know them, learn about their lives, and have a better understanding of the choice they were making. All details I have tucked away to someday help explain to our daughter.


The next four weeks may have been harder than the nine months leading up to our match. Although we were in it 100% no matter what, we knew we had no control and no say in the outcome. The day before this sweet baby girl was to enter this world we headed down to Florida to be there for the birth, but baby had other plans and arrived that night. 

The next 48 hours were some of the most difficult hours for us. The mood had shifted when we arrived in Florida for the birth, and the birth mother seemed to shift from confidence in her decision to significant doubt. She had changed her mind about us being up there and having full access to the baby to allowing us one short supervised visit after we had been there for nearly a full day, she was no longer hugging us and encouraging us about the adoption like she had when we met the first time two short weeks prior. She decided to room in and care for the baby post delivery, which now I see as a blessing because it gave her that sacred time. Brad and I were crushed and scared when we left the hospital, but we knew we needed to honor this mother, whatever decision she made, and the agonizing process she needed to go through to make it.

Finally, 48 hours to the minute that our little girl came into the world, the papers were signed. When we entered that room all the joy and excitement we felt was immediately shifted to comforting and allowing our daughter's birth mother to grieve as she handed me her daughter and asked me to take care of her, saying “she is now yours”. I quickly handed her to my husband and just held her birth mother as we cried together over a child that she had chosen to give a better life to. We stood in that room together, crying, laughing, discussing what this sweet baby liked and didn’t like, and reassured each other over this life altering decision. I will always treasure that time spent together. 



Adoption is not a smooth road; it is full of pot holes and twist and turns. But for us the end result was a child that instantly became our “own” the very first time we laid eyes on her. She has brightened a world that looked dark at times, she brought our dreams back to life, and she is everything that we ever dreamed of. We turned it over to God and let him lead us to two amazing people who sought out a better life for one of God’s greatest gifts; such an incredible miracle!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Adoption Story: Stephen and Caroline

"God's timing is always perfect." This is a refrain I say and see time and time again in my work with families in adoption. Although it has the potential to sound trite or cliche, it's proved true over and over. Stephen and Caroline's story of how they brought their son home is a picture of God's amazing timing. It was five months after they completed their home study that an expectant family chose them. Four months later, their son Liam was born. A nine month journey of waiting and anticipation...


It feels like he was always ours. When I'm not with him, I'm always thinking about him. People sometimes ask "does it feel different since he's not your biological child?" We have nothing to compare it to, but the way my heart bursts when I think about him - I can't imagine that it feels different. 

Liam's birth mom, Mama S, chose us to be his parents in March of 2018. She didn't know the baby's gender yet, but we just knew it would be a boy. Mama S had three young children at home and she was married. Sadly it was a situation of homelessness and she wanted more for her baby. We always envisioned having a relationship with our baby's family, so we decided to start immediately. We had weekly calls (Friday nights) with Mama S and the kids. We flew out to meet her in May. I'm so glad we did that because it gave us the opportunity to get to know her and her children - a special story that we look forward to sharing with Liam someday. 


On Saturday, July 7th, we woke up and packed the dogs in the car to go hiking. As we were leaving our house, we got a call from our case worker - Mama S was in labor three weeks early! She said that we needed to get on the next plane ASAP (because this was her fourth baby and was progressing quickly). We got to Arizona about five hours later and had missed his birth by about an hour. Mama S wanted us to take him immediately and do skin-to-skin for bonding. We did. As the day progressed, the nurses noted that Liam refused to eat. When they tested his blood sugar, he was immediately admitted to the NICU and shortly afterwards started seizing. Mama S is a diabetic which led to some complications with Liam unable to regulate his blood sugar. He was in the NICU for seven days and although it broke my heart to see him in pain and hooked up to a multitude of lines, we learned so much during that sweet time. We became a family. We gave him his first bath. My husband learned how to change a diaper. We had sleepless nights. 


Looking back, I saw God in every step of our adoption journey. All of our tears of getting a 'no' from the situations we presented to. All of our worry during the waiting time for Mama S and her husband to sign. Living in a hotel in Arizona for two weeks in July (it was scorching hot!) away from the comforts of home and the help of family. Praying for our ICPC to be complete. So.many.tears. Would we do it again? Absolutely. We will start the process again this summer. Adoption is the gospel personified. I feel so much closer to my Savior now that he has given us his child to raise. Adoption is the hardest thing I've ever done. And I am reminded everyday how much my Savior loves me when I look at Liam. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Adoption Story: Dave and Kaitlin

One of the hardest parts of trying to grow a family can be all of the "no's" you hear along the way. 

The "not pregnant" on the stick. The doctor shaking his head trying to explain the unknown. The news your profile wasn't chosen...again.

But then, the day comes when you finally hear the "yes."

And you realize, all of these "no's" were simply God's "not yets" to his perfect plan for your family.

This was Dave and Kaitlin's story of how they became a family of three. Today Kaitlin shares their journey to finding God's "yes" for their family and his sovereign timing. 



Our adoption journey started in March of 2018. We would both say our adoption experience went as smooth as you could hope it to go. With that being said, it was still both an exciting and difficult time!

We reached out to Susan at Christian Adoption Consultants after being referred to her from my good childhood friend who also used her. Susan was so wonderful to work with and helped us so much throughout the process! 

Once we were home study approved, Susan immediately started presenting us with expectant mom profiles. It was so very exciting to get the ball rolling and to see the potential moms/families that we could match with! After years of infertility, it was so hopeful and amazing to feel this close to our baby. 

I would say this “matching” process came with lots of highs and lows. We would get so invested in the expectant mom we wanted to present to and get so hopeful and excited that she would feel the same way and "pick us" back. When you get a “no,” you can’t help but feel disappointed, sad, and even rejected. After infertility and experiencing 10 miscarriages, we were sick and tired of feeling that way. We knew going into it that we would get no’s and we tried to prepare ourselves for that, but it was still hard to fight those extreme feelings of rejection and sadness. It’s so hard to see it at the time, but those “no’s” are just God’s way of saying “this is not your baby, your baby will come.” It’s so hard to let go of control, but that’s exactly what you have to do in this process; let go of trying to control everything and let God lead you through it. God already knew the exact mom we would match with and He would make sure we wouldn’t miss her! 

We actually saw our daughter's birth mom's information but initially chose not to present to her. We were concerned we would have a failed adoption because of some specific details and we honestly didn’t really feel “drawn” to her like some others we presented to. So we passed! A few weeks later, this same situation popped up again, just after we received another “no.” It turns out she didn’t connect with any of the profiles she had received and she wanted to see more families. I showed her information to my husband again and said, “Should we present to her? Why not? If it’s not meant to be, she will say no.” So we offered our profile, and, to our amazement, she chose us! We couldn’t believe it! We matched with C in August of 2018, less than two months after our home study was ready. We are so incredibly thankful that she is who we matched with; words can’t even describe the feeling. Since matching, we developed an amazing relationship with the expectant mom, C, birth dad, and their three year old son. We truly love and deeply care for them; they are now a part of our family! They constantly told us they couldn’t be any happier that S was going to be our child to raise. After matching with C, all our previous "no’s" made total sense and I was actually so glad we got them! It felt so right with C! 


We traveled to C’s hometown in October and spent the week with her and developed such a strong bond and relationship. We talked regularly until S was born and I was honored to be in the delivery room to love and support her as she gave birth to our daughter. I got to see it all! I stood there bawling, tears streaming down my face, body shaking as I saw the most beautiful thing in the world: our daughter being born! It was truly magical. I knew the second she was born, the second I saw her, that she was meant to be ours! She was born November 20th, just two days before Thanksgiving. C signed paperwork for the adoption the very next day and they stayed that night at their home to get some rest. They came back to the hospital on Thanksgiving and we all had Thanksgiving dinner together! Talking, loving on S, laughing a lot, and bonding more as a family; it was an amazing experience! 


When we left to return home, we all cried many tears. The birth family, again, kept saying how happy they were for us and that they are so incredibly joyful that we were the ones to raise S and love her for the rest of our lives. Both of her birth parents were crying as they gave her hugs and kisses goodbye. I won’t lie; it was gut wrenching to watch. My heart truly broke for them; to see their sadness and their deep love for their daughter. It was a love so deep that they wanted the best life for her. They chose to sacrifice their own happiness and completely shatter their own hearts in order for S to have the best life; was so truly beautiful.


Our daughter is our entire world. It actually pains me to even try to come up with words to describe how much we love her and how much joy she has brought us. She is our perfect baby girl, our daughter God had planned for us all this time! He knew, before she was even conceived, that she would be ours. It brings me to tears to think that out of all the babies in the world, God picked HER to be our daughter and picked US to be her parents. Every tear we have shed throughout the years of trying to grow our family, every moment of sadness and darkness has been totally worth it to lead us to our daughter. I wouldn’t change our path for anything. Adoption has blessed our family so deeply. It’s been our greatest gift and something we will always be grateful for. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Adoption Story: Kyle and Liz

It still amazes me how every family that comes together through adoption has such an incredibly different story. A unique reason they chose adoption to grow their family, different twists and turns on the journey to their baby, and distinct details that make up their adoption.

When Liz first shared their adoption story, my first instinct was to shorten it a bit for this space for ease of reading. But I quickly checked my initial response: each detail is so significant to their story. Each step was one closer to their daughter. And each decision, heartbreak, and event, no matter how small, God sovereignly used as a part of the grand way he would make this family of three a family of four.

So today I have the joy of sharing, in all of the beautiful details, Liz's story of how their daughter came into this world and into their family.



Technically, I'm not sure when our adoption journey began.  Kyle and I had a brief conversation at some point about considering adopting when we were dating or engaged and we both agreed to consider it when we were ready to start a family. We had our first child biologically, but with some complications. I was admitted to the hospital for a few weeks when I was 28 weeks pregnant and ended up having surgery. Our baby boy was born perfectly healthy in October of 2015. After some follow up visits to multiple doctors, we found out we could attempt to have more children biologically, but no one would guarantee that complications wouldn't occur. We both agreed that when we were ready to grow our family again, we wanted to explore adoption.

We started with initial calls with a few agencies and found a local Christian agency that seemed to be a good fit.  The PILES of paperwork were daunting but we got to work right away and spent our evenings filling out all the forms. We were officially home study approved in September of 2017. One Sunday evening in January, we received an email about a baby boy who was born in downtown Kansas City. He seemed healthy but there had been heavy drug use during the pregnancy. We did some research that evening, but told our social worker that we weren't comfortable presenting to this situation. However, God really worked on our hearts that week and on Wednesday we called her back and said we'd like to present if it wasn't too late. We started preparing physically and emotionally to possibly bring home a baby Friday, but found out that we weren't chosen since we already had a son. We were heartbroken and didn't understand why God has us pursue this opportunity if it wasn't meant to be. However, it made us realized that although we were nervous to grow to be a family of four, we were ready to take on the challenge.  

Since our local agency was so small, we did some research on what other options we had to be able to adopt more quickly. That's when we found Susan and Christian Adoption Consultants. She was so quick to respond, answer ALL of our questions, and get us started. By the end of February, we were live with about twelve agencies nationwide. We finally saw a situation we were comfortable presenting to from Phoenix and found out a week later that the expectant mother picked us! We called the agency and accepted the match. The first week or so went by with lots of details to discuss, but we had plenty of time to work everything out since the baby wasn't due until August. Susan helped us with questions during the process, what to expect as we waited, and communication with the expectant mother and the agency. We hired an attorney and waited each week for our update call. However, after six weeks we were learning that the expectant mother wasn't following the agency's processes - she wasn't checking in when she was supposed to and was skipping doctor's appointments. We had about a month of waiting - calls and emails back and forth daily with updates on if she showed up for appointments. The agency was very patient with us and seemed to be taking good care of the expectant mother, which was the most important thing to us. Finally though, we got the call that our expectant mom wasn't happy with the agency and was walking away. They suspected she may have had a miscarriage and didn't want anyone to know. Regardless of the real story, we were heartbroken again. We took our toddler to dinner the night we found out, distracted him with French fries and discussed the possibility of not going forward with an adoption. We decided we had come too far and knew we still wanted to grow our family. Honestly, not only were we disappointed about the baby, but the financial burden of the failed adoption made the heartache worse. We had lost our match fee and didn't see how we were going to come up with that amount again.

I feel like our story defines the saying "don't put God in a box." When we had called our adoption attorney to tell him about the adoption plan failing and figuring out final fees, he told us that he does lots of private adoptions if we knew of anyone who wanted to make an adoption plan. We said, ok great, we'd be fine with that, but didn't really plan on advertising or actively looking for a baby in this way.

It was the beginning of April now and not a lot of new situations came up. When one finally did we realized we were pretty terrified of being matched and it failing again. We decided not to present for a while and prayed God would give us peace about the right expectant mother for us.  

One evening in the middle of April, my dad called. He had had a man from his prayer group visit him at work and ask how our adoption process was going since they had been praying at their church. He told my dad about his granddaughter who was 17 and pregnant here in Missouri. She and her family were considering creating an adoption plan. He encouraged my dad to have me call his daughter so we could potentially meet and discuss adopting their baby if we were interested. I then made one of the most difficult and awkward calls of my life. I called this woman and explained to her that my father knew her father, that my husband and I were wanting to grow our family through adoption, and that we would be willing to adopt their daughter's baby if they were willing to consider it. I emailed her our adoption attorney's information as well as our profile book. She said they were still very unsure as to what they were going to do, but said she would look at the information I sent. We didn't hear anything from them after that, but one Friday evening about 3 weeks later, our adoption attorney called and said the woman had called him and wanted to discuss next steps in creating an adoption plan with us! We set up a meeting with them for the next Sunday.

On Wednesday morning, I got a call that an expectant mom in Florida had picked us for her baby boy that was due in the middle of August. I immediately started crying out of frustration and confusion. The social worker on the phone assumed I was elated and continued telling me about how this birth mom loved our profile, our family life, and that we were the only family she had picked with no secondary choice like they usually do. They needed us to accept the match in 24 hours.  I hung up the phone bewildered on what was happening. We now seem to have 2 babies to pick from?  What was happening? Again, Susan was there for us, talking us through options on what to do since we were in the middle of the private adoption situation potentially taking place. We called the Florida agency back and explained everything. The agency was very gracious and agreed to give us through Monday to accept or decline the match.

Sunday morning, Kyle and I met the expectant mother, her mom, step-dad, and grandmother. It was nerve-wrecking, but oddly not that uncomfortable. We found out she was having a baby girl in August and left that day with an understanding that everyone wanted to move forward with this private adoption plan. As excited as Kyle and I were about this local opportunity, we were heartbroken AGAIN to say no to the expectant mother in Florida. We deliberated different options and outcomes, even trying to think of ways to potentially adopt two babies (in different states) in one month - probably not our best idea. However, we knew we needed to say no, and give everything we had to the expectant mother here in Missouri. We grieved the Florida baby for a day or two before we were ready to have an evening to celebrate our match with the local expectant mom.  

From there on out, we were able to be included in so much of our daughter's first-families' story. I was able to attend doctor's appointments, hear her heartbeat, see ultrasounds, and go out for ice cream with her birth mom and great-grandma to get to know each other better. They were the kindest people. When the birth mom was around 38 weeks, we found out that our daughter's birth father's family, didn't know if they were totally on board with the adoption plan. They decided it would make them feel better to meet us before they committed to sign anything. On a Tuesday afternoon, we set up to meet at a Dairy Queen close to the hospital so I could go to the birth mom's doctor's appointment after. To say I was nervous was an understatement - it felt like if I said the wrong thing, they could put a stop to the whole plan. However, almost as soon as I met our daughter's paternal first grandparents, I was put at ease. They were the nicest people and understandably wanted to discuss everything first hand.  It was - again - a strangely easy conversation. We're so thankful that we had time with our daughter's birth families.


Fortunately, we had met when we did. That Friday evening, we got that call that our birth mom was going into labor and she wanted us at the hospital. We had friends and family drop what they were doing to stay with our son as we packed our bags and drove to the hospital. We arrived around 10 pm and texted back and forth with our birth mom's grandmother. After about 30 minutes in the waiting room, our daughter's birth father and his parents arrived to wait as well. We all drank coffee and got to know each other better for a few hours. At 2:04 am, our daughter - Claire Elizabeth - was born.  We received the OK to come and meet her about 15 minutes later. We got to hold her and check on her first mom.  Everything had gone smoothly and everyone was great. The nurses ushered us quickly out so she could recover and took us to our very own hospital room. Since the maternity unit wasn't full, we were able to stay with our daughter in a room as if we had delivered her. Claire's birth father and his parents came back to meet her and take some pictures for about 30 minutes, and then went home to get some rest. While we were in the hospital, some of our birth mom's family came to check on her and meet Claire. They congratulated us, brought gifts, and were so kind. Our daughter's birth mother signed papers and was discharged early so we were able to leave the hospital on Monday with Claire with no issues.

This Christmas it's so surreal that she's here. We spent so many holidays, birthdays, and just normal weekdays, wondering when she would be with us. We're so thankful for God's faithfulness, sovereign plan, and perfect timing. God answered so many prayers with Claire and her first family: we prayed about our relationship with our baby's birth family before we knew them and it all went so smoothly. They are very special to us and it seems strange not to see them any more like we did before her birth. Also, He provided a baby close to us in the same state so we didn't have to leave our son for weeks to stay in another state. Finally, with the private adoption, because the fees looked much different, God provided all of the money we needed so we didn't have to take out loans.  

We learned lots of things through our adoption process. We found that working with adoptions professionals, like Susan, and the excellent attorney she recommended was invaluable. I also personally found it helpful to read and listen to as many adoption stories as possible. I could not get enough of all of the different ways people had grown their family. I felt like by doing this, nothing would surprise me or catch me off guard (ha!). Finally, we were surrounded by the very best family, friends, and church family anyone could ask for. They covered us in prayer, encouraged us, listened to us cry, brought us cinnamon rolls and dinner, and watched our son when we needed to go to appointments, finish paperwork, or just needed a break to process what was happening. 

In the end, we learned for certain, that even with all the hardships, God writes the best stories.

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