Wednesday, December 31, 2014

season's greetings

Admittedly, my mailbox is the happiest every December. It fills up with beautiful adoptive families that I've been blessed to work with; families that have become sweet friends.

As each greeting comes, I look at the sweet faces and remember their story. Often one more sweet face has been added to the picture since their last Christmas card was sent. It's a beautiful chance to recount the amazing work God has done in their lives. 


Represented here are just a handful of stories of loss, of heartbreak, and struggle. There is infertility, mounds of paperwork, fundraisers and money painstakingly saved. There is anxious waiting, prayers spoken in the dark, and tears few others see. But there is also expectation and awkward first meetings, laboring beside a birth mama, and seeing that face for the first time. There are baths and cuddles and bedtime stories and prayers. There are homes filled with laughter and learning and hope. 

There are families.

The faces that show up in my mailbox in December are a sweet reminder of the incredible blessing I have to get a front row seat to the miracles God does when he creates a family.



Are you dreaming of having another face on your Christmas card in 2015? Click here for ways to make that happen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

dreaming about adoption in 2015

The beginning of the year is the time to look forward and dream about what could be. Could this be the year that you take action on your desire to adopt? If finances are all that's holding you back, maybe this is just the encouragement you need to make the first move towards the baby that God would place in your family.


Christian Adoption Consultants wants to help you get started by offering a $100 discount. Any new families who sign up between January 1st and 9th will receive $100 off of our full service consulting packages. (This discount does not apply to our self serve consulting package, returning families, or special needs consulting packages).

Patrick and Lily brought their son home in 2014 with the help of CAC!
























Let's make 2015 the year you open your home to a child through adoption!

Want more info on Christian Adoption Consultants?  Click here.
What does it mean to hire an adoption consultant?  Click here.
Want to get started or get an info packet?  Click here.
What if you have more questions?  Click here.

Have friends who are thinking about adoption? Make sure you share this post! 

Email me at susan@christianadoptionconsultants.com for an application and information packet.

Monday, December 22, 2014

meet Jacob

This is Jacob.


After 733 days in foster care, he found a forever family. In mine.

My brother and his wife, Tim and Meg, became foster parents just over two years ago. Days after getting their license, they got a call. A little boy, just three months old, needed a safe place to land. Within hours Tim and Meg were holding a little guy under their Christmas tree. Within days he had a stocking knit for him hanging at Papa and Nonny's house.


Over the next several months, that spilled over into years, Tim and Meg did all they could to care for Jacob. The days were filled with court hearings and visits. With doctors appointments and sleepless nights. With bottles and books and bedtime prayers. They built a beautiful relationship with Jacob's birth family. And earlier this year, his biological mother decided that adoption was the best choice for her son. But she didn't just consent to an adoption. She would only consent to a specific adoption: naming Tim and Meg as his forever family.

Last week, we traveled to celebrate Jacob's adoption finalization. I was greeted in front of the courthouse by Jacob's biological grandma, who knew me by name. She knew everyone who arrived, having heard about us from Tim and Meg and taking genuine interest in Jacob and his adoptive family. We packed the courtroom (so much that the attorney said he had never seen such a crowd for an adoption) and I'm sure we interrupted all of the hearings on that floor with our cheering.


Admittedly, I cry at every adoption finalization I attend. There's something more than an Adoption Decree being signed and new birth certificate being issued. A child has a new name. A family is created. Nothing mirrors the gospel like adoption.

But this time it was my brother. And my sister. And my nephew. I've watched them love Jacob from the beginning. And they have loved without reservation or hesitation or strings attached. Without knowing the end of the story, they committed to love him with all they had from the start. They knew that as long as Jacob was entrusted to their care, they would be his parents. And they've been amazing.

I was done even before they were sworn in; the tears had already started. While we were waiting for the hearing to start I pulled my brother aside and told him how proud I was of him; that he's an amazing daddy. And then the judge proclaimed Jacob every much a son to Tim and Meg as if he had been born to them, gave Jake the gavel to close the case, and my brother held his son, the one who finally shared his name, and cried. I joined the rest of the gallery as we wept at the goodness and faithfulness of God who can turn something so broken into something so beautiful. A child who once entered the foster care system through hurts a three month old should never know now chosen, wanted, and given a new name; adopted.

 

It's funny how one day, one moment of a gavel hitting the bench, can change everything and nothing at the same time. Jacob now shares our family name. But he's been a part of our family since the moment he was held under that Christmas tree. He has been loved from the beginning.

Welcome to the family, Jacob Weston. You've been a part of us since the moment we laid eyes on you.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

the gift of adoption

I've been thinking a lot about gifts for Christmas. Trying to think of thoughtful, loving gifts (which is always harder than you think it will be at the beginning of the season). And then I was reminded what so many people I know are wanting right now - a family.


I've had so many conversations with people about desiring to start their adoption process but feeling incredibly overwhelmed and not knowing how to even begin. That's where Christian Adoption Consultants can come in. We can help you navigate your adoption from start to finish.

So I am encouraging you, if you have thought about it, why not have the process started for a Christmas present? Even better, ask your friends and family to contribute to the cost of hiring a n adoption consultant. Seriously, how many scarves or face creams, or shoes do you need? Asking those around you to help, to join you on the journey, and actually beginning the process to adopt could change your life, and the life of a child.

Why not take the first step to creating a family so that next Christmas, there can be an extra face on the Christmas card.

And take a look at this video, because this one is too good not to share...




Friday, December 12, 2014

adoption story: joe and jessica

Joe and Jessica talked about having children from the moment they met and were eager to become parents. They dreamed about teaching their kids, watching them grow, and giving them unconditional love and support. After struggling to have a family, Joe and Jessica decided adoption would be the best way to grow their family.  


Their first step was connecting with other families built through adoption. In their area, there have been quite a few families who have adopted with the help of Christian Adoption Consultants. This group that keeps growing gets together for barbecues, adoption education, and have created quite a community of support and friendship. 

Joe and Jessica began working with me at the end of March and by the end of May they were prepared to take in a little one with their home study ready. Just over two months later, they were matched with a birth mother, due just before Christmas. Joe and Jessica looked forward to a holiday season becoming a family of three.

But then the unexpected happened, their match failed in October and suddenly the upcoming Christmas season was filled with loss rather than celebration. One of their biggest fears in their adoption was realized. They turned to their family and friends and other CAC families for support and braced themselves for another holiday season with empty arms.


Just eleven days later, Joe and Jessica got the call that would change everything. A little boy was born that needed a family. A little boy was waiting for them. Joe and Jessica caught the first flight they could to go and meet an amazing birth mother and the sweet little one that would be their son.


Looking back, we know that Joe and Jessica would have never heard about their son had they not gone through the failed match. We know that God took what we thought was a huge loss and misstep and turned it into the beautiful story he was writing. We know that this boy was meant to be with Joe and Jessica forever.

What a difference two weeks made in the life of this family. 


Joe and Jessica thought they were anticipating becoming a family just in time for Christmas. But God made sure their son was home for Thanksgiving.

And I'm sure when Joe and Jessica tell their son's story in the twinkle of Christmas lights for years to come, they will tell a story of heartache and loss. And a story of beautiful surprises and gratefulness. And I'm sure they will say that they wouldn't have it any other way.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

adoption story: gray and leigh

Gray and Leigh have a beautiful story of God creating their family. After adopting their son from Ethiopia, they knew their family wasn't yet complete. But this story is more about a family pursuing adoption. It's about God making the impossible happen...



After adopting our son in from Ethiopia in 2011, we knew that God was calling our family to grow again through adoption. After much prayer we felt God calling us to domestic adoption. We signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants, got our home study completed and by the end of July we were ready for placement. We saw several situations come through but none of them felt "right." 




On Monday, September 8th we found out about a birth mother expecting a little baby girl in less than a month. I called the agency for more details and the moment they started telling me more I just knew. I knew this was the birth mother we had been praying for, I just knew this baby girl was our daughter. My heart knew all of this but my head kept saying it was crazy to think like that, too many pieces would have to fall into place. I told Gray we needed to talk when he got home from work and I texted my best friend that as crazy as it sounded, this was it. The problem, if this birth mother did pick us to parent her little girl, we needed 11,000 dollars in 48 hours. We only had 5,000 of that. We would also need an additional 11,000 at birth. When we found out we couldn't put this on our credit card and fundraise to pay it off we were devastated, this was money we had to have in the bank.  All night we tried to figure out how to make it work, in our minds there was no way we could fundraise that much. We decided we were not going to present, I was heartbroken. I texted my best friend to tell her, what she wrote back would change our lives forever. She said "if this is your daughter, God is going to provide." But my thought was "not for us, we aren't deserving or worthy of such a miracle". The Lord would quickly teach me that none of us are worthy but He can use any of us for His glory if we are willing!  Neither Gray nor I got much sleep that night. The next morning I woke up, texted Gray that we were going for it and drew a big heart on our chalk board to track our fundraising. Over the next  two days we posted on Facebook and Instagram and had our posts shared dozens of times. Our son, Angesom, helped us track our fundraising progress and in just 36 hours we raised the additional 6,000 dollars we needed if the birth mother did choose us. It was the most unbelievable and humbling experience of my life. 




On September 11th our agency called and we found out that the birth mother had chosen us for this precious baby girl.  We were overjoyed and overwhelmed. We still had a lot left to fundraise. Over the next 21 days we raised the additional 11,000 dollars thanks to so many people. We had total strangers throw huge fundraisers for us that brought in thousands of dollars. There were recipe exchanges and Instagram auctions. Tons of people were giving us portions of their commission. We were getting donations from all over the country. I spent most days in tears at how God was moving to bring our baby girl home. Hundreds of people were praying for our family. On October 7 at 8:01am our Elisabeth "Elsie" Reece was born. We were blessed to be with her moments after her birth and we fell madly in love with her from the start.  



It's still overwhelming to look back at our journey to Elsie and see how many people played a role in helping us bring our daughter home. We will forever be thankful to everyone who loved our family big and was part of the miracle God had for our family. He alone makes the impossible possible and we can only hope our story encourages others to step out in faith! 


Monday, December 8, 2014

adoption story: will and megan

If you want a good love story, Will and Megan and how they fell in love with their daughter is a good one. But it turned out to be even more than that...


It started on Valentine's Day this year when they began working with me at Christian Adoption Consultants. After years of wanting to create a family and lots of dead ends, adoption seemed to be the perfect fit. Adoption was already woven into their story and seemed to be a natural next step. Their home study was done in May and six weeks later they were matched with a beautiful expectant mother.

They always knew the woman who would have their baby would be a brave and courageous woman. But they had no idea how much they would admire and grow to love her as well as their baby.

Over the next few months, as Will and Megan were awaiting the arrival of their baby, they were able to develop a relationship with their expectant mother. They called, texted, and visited with her, even attending a prenatal appointment.

And then, early one morning they got the call. Their expectant mother was in labor and they caught the earliest flight they could, desperately hoping they could make it for the birth. But when the earliest flight wasn't until late morning and included a layover, they just prayed their arrival wouldn't be too long after their daughter's birth. 

While Will and Megan were getting off of the very last seats on the plane and gathering their suitcases (which were the very last on the carousel), their birth mother was waiting for them. She was ready to push; the baby was ready to come and the doctors were all coaching her to push. But she insisted on waiting for Will and Megan to be their when their daughter was born.


When Will and Megan finally arrived, they were amazed to see a team of people, all waiting for them to welcome their daughter into the world. They had the amazing opportunity to share the miracle of their daughter's birth with her strong birth mother. And in those moments, all three of them became parents to a beautiful baby girl.


That night, before Megan was finally able to drift off to sleep after the incredible events of the day that made her a mother, she shared that she was praising and thanking God over and over.

When Will and Megan started out on their journey to adopt, they were sure they would fall in love with their baby. But who knew they would also learn to love a woman who so selflessly gave them such an incredible gift? 






Thursday, December 4, 2014

unwrapping the greatest gift

Each year, our family chooses to celebrate advent with the Jesse Tree. It's a beautiful way to remember that Christmas isn't just about a baby born in a stable to a peasant girl; but a redemption story that is woven throughout all of history. Each evening we stop and pause to celebrate the coming of a King and anticipate his coming again.

It's like a deep breath for the soul. A space to step away from the chaos of the season and remember why Christmas changed all of history.


This year we're going through Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. This beautiful book is perfect for our family to celebrate advent this year. Hearing again the story that started from the beginning of time of a loving and faithful God who entered into our world to enter our mess and make all things right.

Once, in the truest story that you have ever heard, His-Story, which is really your very own story, there was this family - Jesse's family. A family that was like yours, like a tree with branches of these relatives and those brothers and those sisters - a family that loved each other and hurt each other and forgave each other and failed each other. A family that failed God...

This is how the book starts. And I wept when I heard those words because this is how our advent this year started as well. 


More than any other time, this year for our family has been marked by loving and failing and hurting and forgiving each other (just click the marriage tab on the right and you'll get a picture of the big messes God loves to redeem). And hearing the good news that Jesus entered into our world to rescue us from all of the brokenness is a beautiful reminder. One that in this season is good to hear night after night after night.

Included in the book are resources for Jesse Tree ornaments and printables. This year, with our family together for the first time in awhile, my heart has longed to keep things simple. It's always easy for me to get caught up in the prefect decor and traditions and family pictures. But this year it seems right that things are quieter and there's more room to revel in God's gift to us.


So instead of scouring Pinterest for the perfect homemade advent tree, I printed off the simple coloring ornaments and hung them with twine and washi tape in our breakfast nook. The kids color each story and every day we take a peek at each gift; God's rescue plan unfolding. Then every night, as we gather the kids by the fire and read God's redemption throughout history, the simple story is exactly what I need to hear in the midst of a complex world.


Jesus comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, "I am your Rescuer, and I will set you free from all the brokenness and sinfulness and sadness.  I'll be the Gift...Who wants to wake up on Christmas morning with a heart that wants the greatest Gift the most?  Who wants Jesus more than anything else?

My prayer for our family this advent season is that we would see God's redemption plan throughout all of history, and so evident in our own family tree, and continue to learn to want Jesus more than anything else.


To see how we've celebrated advent in past years, check out these posts on celebrating advent with a Jesse Tree and with the Jesus Storybook Bible.



Monday, December 1, 2014

announcing your adoption

Much like other couples announcing their pregnancy, some couples in the process of adopting are eager to tell friends and family that they're "paper pregnant." Although when to decide to tell others is different for every family, announcing a growing family can be an exciting and fun way to include others in the journey.

Here's a compilation of some of my families announcing their adoption plans! (For more on each family's adoption story, simply click their names for the link!)


This is how Alex and Amy shared the start of their adventure to find their baby.



Andy and Mimi announced their adventure and a way family and friends can follow their journey.



Chris and Christy used Bananagram tiles!



Chris and Shelley enlisted the help of their favorite cupcakery 
(who later also assisted in celebrating their daughter's homecoming!)



Dietrich and Christy made this their Facebook banner picture to let friends and family in on their plans.



Gray and Leigh enlisted the help of their son, Angesom, who was thrilled to become a big brother!



Jarrod and Amanda had a photo shoot and created a video (found here).



Jimmy and Leah announced the start of their adventure this way.



Joe and Jess mailed these creative "Mad Gab" game cards to their friends and family with a note to call when they figured out the secret message ("Joe and Jess Are Adopting a Baby).




Paul and Katie sent this special package to soon-to-be grandparents.



Steve and Kate got their eager big sisters, Megan and Faith, involved. 



Tony and Natalie also got the whole family involved (and even their stack of paperwork to be completed!) 



Troy and Nicole had help from their dogs...



Tyler and Miki made their announcement paired with school spirit! 



For more creative ideas to announce your adoption, check out part 2!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

adoption story: jeff and lindsay

The road to parenthood has been a long one for Jeff and Lindsay. After years of loss and having their daughter that they call their "miracle baby," they knew adoption was the next step to growing their family. They started working with Christian Adoption Consultants in April and completed their home study in May. But when the waiting began, Jeff and Lindsay were confident in God's timing. And each night their daughter prayed for a little brother or sister.


Two months later God answered their daughter's prayers and they were matched with a birth family. Their son, due to arrive at Thanksgiving, surprised them several weeks early. 


Jeff and Lindsay summed up their adoption so well in these beautiful words they wrote to their birth family...

Our lives will be intertwined with yours forever. Your child will always know of your love for them. It is important they know where they come from and how special they truly are. They are a blessing to this world and will touch many lives just like you have touched us with this responsibility. Nothing in life is more important than children: supporting and nurturing their growth and influencing the individual they will become, and most importantly reminding them that they have been loved even before they were born.

We want you to know that adoption is the beginning of our story, not the end. 


So this year, instead of two seats for this family around the Thanksgiving table that Jeff and Lindsay had for so long, they will have four. And I'm sure their hearts will be overflowing this year with gratefulness.

Grateful they decided to embark on the adventure of adoption.

Grateful for the birth family and their courage and bravery.

Grateful for their sweet son who was an answer to years of prayers.

And grateful for the beautiful beginning of the story God is writing for their family.



Monday, November 24, 2014

the "now and not yet" of the kingdom and adoption

Dani and her husband Adam recently started their adoption process which they describe as their "family expedition." To hear more about their trip, you can follow along at her blog, Wrangler Dani. But for now, I love her thoughts on the now and not yet tensions of the Kingdom, adoption, and our hearts.


We’ve finished all of the required Home Study paperwork, visits and education, now we’re just waiting for our social worker to finish the Home Study and approve us – at which point we’ll submit all of this info to various adoption agencies and see what happens. It’s exciting and tedious all at once, kind of like waiting in line for a jaw-dropping, scream-inducing roller-coaster on a hot midsummer day. The sweat may be trickling down your legs and you might be thinking wishfully about a cold Diet Coke and the Amusement Park Couple in front of you might be getting to know each other’s tonsils, but eventually you’ll get to buckle in and woosh away – and that first heart-stopping plunge will be worth any wait.

Adoption involves a lot of waiting, and in the midst of the waiting are many questions with no answers. We don’t have set timelines, we don’t know what our child will look like, we don’t even know what state he or she will be from. This can lead to some uncomfortable thoughts, as you can imagine. We’ve started to acknowledge that we have an itch in our souls, a calling that can’t be ignored, and yet scratching that itch and answering that call are an unknowable length of time away – seemingly an endless road.

I’m reminded of the Christian concept of Kingdom Theology, or "now and not yet." This is the idea that Jesus came, brought the Kingdom of God to Earth and redeemed humanity, and yet the Kingdom of God in its fullness is not yet here. We still live in hard places, in death and pain and struggle, even though Christ has come and hope has been found. We have to live in the Now, even as we know that more is coming, that a Second Coming of Christ will finish the Kingdom of God once and for all here on Earth. So how do we do this? How do we live in the Now without crying endlessly for the Not Yet? How can we be content while we still yearn for something better, brighter, more beautiful?

I’m not sure, to be honest. I’m wrestling with that tension more and more these days, as my own Now and Not Yet bump heads and collide in the night while getting drinks of water or whatever it is they do, waking me up and causing me to study our ceiling in futility.

Reality dictates that I must come to grips with Now and Not Yet, however, and here’s what I’ve found so far: Now and Not Yet are not nearly so scary, the tension between them not nearly so exhausting and awful, when we embrace them. When I acknowledge that I long to be a parent, I am embracing the Not Yet, allowing myself to feel disappointed that it has Not Yet come. But then I recall that today is a lovely day for working on our kitchen or writing an essay or taking a walk and holding hands with my husband, and so I embrace the Now. I’ll cry in frustration over the Not Yet and wish for it with everything I have, but I will not rob the Now of its joys after I’ve dried my eyes. I will know that I’m preparing for a new thing, an expedition of phenomenal length and breadth, and then do laundry or roast a chicken, because, well, contentment starts with a good dinner and clean clothes and we can’t be so dramatic all the time, now can we?

All too often I think we’re guilty of assuming that the frustrating tedium of Now means that Not Yet will never come. So we satisfy ourselves with alcohol or hobbies or busyness or food or snark or whatever we have available to us, stuffing those lousy excuses into our depleted souls, begging ourselves to hold it together. We try to pretend that we don’t ache for the Not Yet, and in our desperation we even miss the Now, trying so hard to reconcile the two that we enjoy neither.

I am going to live in the Now and Not Yet with open-hearted fullness. It is awfully painful sometimes to wish for something so far away, something that many people would say is less than a sure thing. But I would rather embrace both pain and joy fully than live in a stupor of discontent, seeing nothing but my own unmet desires or forgotten dreams before me.

I’m hopeful and imperfect, which I guess is appropriate to this discussion. But what do you think – can we agree to step boldly into impossible dreams with divine contentment, hoping for the best and yet relishing the mundane, seeing both as a gift?

I certainly hope so. I think we should try it together, because the world needs a few more clear-eyed optimists, aching for those dreams to come true and embracing each step along the way, small and impoverished though they may be.

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

now, we are a family

Jarrod and Amanda brought their sweet daughter, Madison, home this summer. They have an amazing story of God's miracles and faithfulness to their family that you can read here. And earlier this month, they finalized Madison's adoption. Here's a glimpse from Amanda's eyes about the day Madison took their last name, and forever, officially, they became a family.

November 5, 2014 was a day like no other. We waited in the hallway for the bailiff to call us in before the judge. I could practically hear my own heart pounding with excitement - so loudly that it would resonate off those cold, brick, courthouse walls. This was it. After these few moments before a judge, the little girl that I held in my arms would be forever ours. There would be no more visits from a social worker or unexpected legal fees to pay. There would be no more paperwork or reason to worry that something could happen. She would take our name. Papers would be signed. The case would be closed.



The three months since Madison joined our family flew by. It felt like just a few days ago she was placed in my arms for the first time. I cried tears of joy at that moment - I had dreamed about it for so long. But now, the tears came again. This moment - this private moment between our family, an attorney and a judge in a Florida courtroom - was the beginning of our official lives as a family. The judge would legally declare, for the rest of time, what we all already knew to be true in our hearts: This little one was meant to be our daughter. God ordained the three of us a family long before we even knew she existed. And now, we are a family.



The bailiff swore us in and our attorney began to ask us a series of short yes or no questions regarding our adoption, the fees, our adoption license. They were short and simple. But then, in the form of one final question, the attorney asked a question embedded so deeply into my heart that I'll never forget the words. In the hustle of these moments, this significant question, would have been easy to miss. But, ithat moment, it felt as if no one else existed in the room but Jarrod, Madison, and myself.

"Do you understand that when the judge signs the order of adoption here today that Madison will now legally be yours as if she was born to you?"


The beauty of those words still make my heart skip a beat. We nodded our heads in response. The tears began to well up inside me while the judge placed his stamp of approval on the paperwork and handed it back to attorney. It was done. This adoption case was closed. In less than five minutes, we had gone from a couple caring for a precious little one, to a legally, binded-together family. I'll say it again: What we knew in our hearts to be true for so long, was now official. This little one was meant to be our daughter. God ordained the three of us a family long before we even knew she existed. And now, we are a family


Every step of the journey that led us to that moment has been an adventure. There were a lot of tears, a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns and difficult moments. But there was also celebrating, and trust, and hope. Hope that in the end this plan that was not our own, but divinely predetermined for us by a good and incredibly gracious God, would be worth it all. And indeed, every moment was. This little girl is worth every ounce of this journey and I'd do it all over again for her. 


When we began our adoption journey, I ended my first ever blog post with the below song. It was an anthem that got me through some of the deepest and toughest moments of this journey. So it's only fitting to end reflecting on this song once more.


A special thank you to Heather at Studio 25 Photography for giving of your time to come capture these precious images for us! We'd also like to thank my sweet Aunt Deb for accompanying us to the courthouse and rejoicing (& crying) with us during this time of celebration! Your support and love meant so very much!

For more of Jarrod and Amanda's story and this original post, see their blog, Adding to Us.


Monday, November 17, 2014

home

It was one year ago this past week that he left. Again. One year ago the kids and I watched as Jamy left our home and didn't come back for seven months.


There is so much that could be said to fill in the huge gaps of that statement. And I'm sure someday I'll share much more of the details. But for now it's enough to say that when sin creeps into a heart, it creeps into a marriage, and a family, and has devastating consequences. And we lived through that devastation for a long time.

It's hard to put words to what going through a separation that long meant for our family. Being a single mama, grieving with my kids the tremendous loss of a husband and daddy, and praying for my husband every day to remember his identity in Jesus.

The short version is that Jesus did a miracle in our family. Primarily he did a miracle in my husband's heart that changed the trajectory of our family.

One year ago I literally didn't know if Jamy would ever come home. I had to think through the very real possibility of what it would look like to be a family of three and the kind of home I could afford as a single mom. The reality of living in a run down apartment and figuring out how to do life without a husband and a daddy in our home.

And then, over months of heartbreak and hard work and Jesus changing hearts, Jamy came home. He came home over Father's Day weekend and since then God has been knitting our hearts together like never before. The amazing work that God has been doing didn't happen overnight and we're still in the process of healing and looking to him to be our hope. But Jamy has been fervently pursuing righteousness, our marriage, and our kids. He is a different man than the one that left our family a year ago. 

When he came home, we started to dream together again. God had been restoring our hearts and our family and our dreams as a couple.

We decided to buy a home. Almost six years ago when we moved to Kansas City, we left the first home we had purchased together. It turns out the timing couldn't have been worse. We left at the height of the economic downturn: our home took eighteen months to sell and we took an enormous loss. It had taken us years to get out from under the mess and now we thought that by Spring we would be in a space to finally buy again.

But in the quiet of one summer night, I admitted to Jamy that I didn't want to do one more holiday season in our rental home. In the past three years, Jamy has been gone for Thanksgiving and Christmas twice. This space held more hard memories then happy ones; more heartbreak than celebration. But looking at our bank account and our timeframe meant that we would do one more holiday in that same space and I prayed that God would redeem it. But I was dreading the fall, when the winter creeps in and always reminds me of my husband's cold heart and the devastation to our family.

And then God, in his extravagant grace to our family, opened up opportunities for it to be wise for us to begin looking at homes. When we started looking we had no idea how amazing his timing would be. We looked at nine homes. The ninth one we looked at we knew was meant to be ours. It was listed on a Monday morning and by that night our offer was accepted. In less than a month we had moved in.

And in God's crazy goodness, we moved in the same week last year that Jamy left. 

This year instead of watching my husband drive away, I'm watching him pull in the driveway and get tackled by the kids who are eager that Daddy is home from a day at work. This year, instead of sitting alone at night, I'm cuddling on the couch with him in front of the fire and talking about what God is doing in our hearts and lives. This year, instead of making dinner for three of us, the four of us are cooking in the kitchen and dancing to the radio.


So this space in much more than a new house for our family. This is the space where we will call home. This is the space that we will fill with new, beautiful memories. This is the space where we continue to heal and God will continue to redeem and restore. This is the space where we will celebrate miracles. Incredible miracles God has already done and many more I'm sure he has in store for us.

Only God could take a devastating anniversary for our family and turn in into an all-out celebration of his extravagant grace and kindness to our family.

Only God could make this house our home. For all four of us.


Monday, November 10, 2014

adoption story: beau and cassie

Beau and Cassie were eager to start a family and have children of their own. After much thought and prayers, they embraced the idea of loving and nurturing a child through adoption and felt like adoption was God's perfect plan for them to create a family.


They started with Christian Adoption Consultants just after Christmas last year. In April they were home study ready and just weeks later were matched with a beautiful woman expecting to deliver a boy in the fall. 

All of the years of waiting 

All of the tears on the journey

All of the moments of doubt and uncertainty

They all became small the moment they met their son for the first time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

celebrating fall {part 2}

After seeing all those sweet fall faces yesterday, I wanted to share more. Today, they are all dressed up for Halloween!  Each of these babies are a part of our family at Christian Adoption Consultants. Enjoy!

Lucy (13 months)

Angesom (7) and Elsie (2 months)

Aubrey (1 year)

Caroline (4 months)

Emery (2 months)

Gracelynn (6 months)

Isaac (1 year)

Margaret (2 months)

Nolan (8 months)

Norah (2 years)

Olivia (5 months)

Olivia (1 year)

Olivia (2 months)

Madison (4 months)

Sarai (6 weeks)


Teddy (10 months)

Xavier (16 months)


And just a reminder!

Christian Adoption Consultants is offering a 10% discount on all it's full service domestic consulting packages in honor of National Adoption Month. Any new families who sign on during that window will receive 10% off the full service package. (This discount does not apply to the Do It Yourself Program and may not be combined with any other discounts). We only offer discounts like this a few times a year - don't miss out!
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