Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Congratulations Clayton and Mica

Pictures like these are often the result of years of prayers...

But pictures like these only share a glimpse of the beautiful story God creates when he makes a family.

Clayton and Mica have long been praying for this sweet little girl. They have three boys here with them on earth and one beautiful daughter in heaven and felt called to add another girl to their family through adoption. Although they had been home study ready for a year, they hadn't contacted Christian Adoption Consultants until this past April. Two months later, they were chosen by a brave and beautiful expectant mother to be adoptive parents to her little one. And just last week they welcomed their daughter into their family.

This picture doesn't tell you how well they have loved their daughter's birth mother. How they have cried and laughed with her. How they have shared Jesus with her. And how they have begun a relationship with her that honors their daughter's beautiful beginnings and her bright future.

This picture doesn't tell you that this sweet baby, who they named Faith, was born nine years and one day after their daughter Grace passed away. Mica shared with me today that this timing was like God whispering to her "sorrow lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning." The day after Faith was born, Mica's grandmother, who shared a very close relationship with her, passed away. This weekend she will be buried next to Grace.

Mica shared, "I will be able to look at the loss of death and truly remember hope of life as I think of my precious Faith.  Oh how God is good!  Life is messy but if we hold on to Jesus it will be beautiful!"  

Some pictures are worth a thousand words. But these pictures are just the beginning of an amazing story of answers to a family's prayers, a birth mother's hopes and dreams for her daughter, and the faithfulness of a good and gracious God to all of them...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Congratulations Jarrod and Amanda

There are times when words don't even come close to the telling of God's miracles. There are times when the details of stories are only known in the quiet shared by husband and wife, in the sacred space of weeping with a birth family at the bittersweetness of adoption, and the realization of years of answered prayers.

Jarrod and Amanda have just such a story of God's miracles. One that is hard to recount all of the details without sharing too much. But in an effort to share the miracle and give God glory for his faithful, loving kindness, here's a glimpse into how God made a husband and wife a daddy and mommy and a little girl a daughter...

Jarrod and Amanda created this video to share with their friends and church family about their adoption, what the process looks like, and what God started to teach them, even at the very beginning of the process.

As soon as Jarrod and Amanda felt God tell them adoption was the way to grow their family, they dove right in. Last September, they started with me at Christian Adoption Consultants and began their home study. In February their home study was finalized and several weeks later Jarrod and Amanda were generously gifted with a vacation. We joked that maybe it was a "babymoon," their last vacation as a family of two. And several days into the trip, I was trying frantically to get a hold of them. I'll let Amanda tell the story from here...

I saw the most beautiful email that I may ever receive. It was from our adoption consultant, Susan, and the subject line simply said “CALL ME!!!!!"

Thanks to the free calls to the US from our room, I quickly dialed Susan’s number and screamed to Jarrod to come close. She happily answered her phone and said said, “I have good news! YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN!”

The tears instantly started. I couldn’t breath. I got chills. We were stunned. WE WERE CHOSEN.

Before Jarrod and I left, we chose to present to a birth mother whose situation stood out to us very uniquely. We were both 100% in agreement and felt so right about it. So we said yes and shipped out our profile before we left. We didn’t know the exact date that the agency would be presenting to this sweet mom, but we knew it would be while we were gone. We received an email over the weekend that Wednesday was the day. Thankful that I had something to distract me from thinking too much about the presentation of our profile, we prayed over the situation and continued to focus solely on our getaway and time together.

And then the agency presented to this sweet mom on Tuesday and, from what we know, she immediately saw our profile and fell in love. So much so that she didn’t even want to see any other profiles… Oh my goodness. Even now, I can barely keep the tears from coming. Someone chose us.

She chose us.

Jarrod and I were shocked and overjoyed. I can’t even put into words the emotions that immediately flooded our hearts.

We had hoped for this.

We had prayed for this.

We had prayed for this exact situation: that this would be our birth mama. That this would be our baby.

Praise the Lord. She chose us.

And then Susan said the words that are forever melted in my heart. In a way that made me feel ownership as the parents of this baby. Susan said, “And…you’re having a girl.”

We’re having a baby girl.

We have a daughter.

That phone call was months ago now. Since then Jarrod and Amanda have navigated a complex journey. One of a crazy roller coaster that even now Jarrod and Amanda shake their heads at. The twists and turns, the unexpected events, and the laughter and tears seemed too much at times.

But through it all, I've watched Jarrod and Amanda's faith never waver.

I've watched them love big even when it was risky and vulnerable and hard.

I've prayed with them for the health of their sweet girl and for God's perfect timing and sovereignty.

And I've celebrated with them as they've welcomed their daughter home.

Months ago, Amanda shared this: God has blessed us with what feels like, in this moment, such a rare journey that so few people get to personally experience the beauty of...Every day, even in the fearful moments, I remind myself that God has chosen this awkward, yet beautiful path for our family. And truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

And just last night, Amanda wrote this to me: When I think about all the details God has worked out in this adoption that seemed so impossible in the beginning (a list [that] could go on and on)...It's so insane and just screams of God's involvement and intervention!...For now we will stand amazement of our awesome God...I'm so excited to share our journey with others in prayer that he uses it to inspire others on this path.

In the end, Jarrod and Amanda were chosen. They were chosen by two brave birth parents who wanted to give a good life to their daughter.

But more than that, they were chosen by God to be parents to their sweet daughter.

For more of their story, the amazing details, and to follow what God will do next, check out Amanda's blog, Adding to Us.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Congratulations Justin and Dusti

Justin and Dusti started with Christian Adoption Consultants in March. They had started their adoption journey almost a year before then with their home study, but after waiting for months, needed a new direction. After much research, discussion, and prayer, they decided to work with me.

This special couple knew they had been called to grow their family though adoption. Even after the months of waiting, they had a fervency and passion for adoption and were committed to the process. Justin and Dusti have a dream of having a large family and knew if God had called them to it, he would be faithful to make it happen.

Just three weeks after starting with Christian Adoption Consultants, they were matched. There was an expectant couple looking for a family with a strong faith and a love for family: Justin and Dusti were chosen to raise their little one.

And this past week their daughter was born. A beautiful, strong girl who is an answer to prayers prayed in the dark and the perfect addition to their growing family.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Podcast: Why Use an Adoption Consultant?

Yesterday I was interviewed by Randy Bohlender. He went out on a limb after meeting me twice and hired Jamy and I to work at Hannah's Dream Adoptions when we first moved to Kansas City. He and his wife, Kelsey work to promote adoption as a positive alternative to adoption through their leadership of The Zoe Foundation and right in their living room. With their tribe of nine children, their story of family and adoption is worth reading.

So with a mug of coffee in hand, we chatted about the benefits of using an adoption consultant, first steps on the adoption journey, creating your profile, and birth family issues.


You can take a listen here:  Why use an adoption consultant?

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Overdue Update

I haven't posted anything personal on the blog for awhile now. Of course each time I write about one of my adoptive sweet families it is personal as each one is near and dear to me. But for months I've been more quiet about our lives; our family and what's been going on in my heart. Not because nothing has been happening but because everything has been happening. All at once God does hard and good and miraculous work.

Our lives have been full. The school year and unexpected surgery. A summer full of swimming and camp for the kids. Just this past week Jamy started a new job as a social worker at a one of the nation's leading children's hospitals. I'm still running and loving the work God has called me to.

But that is just half of our story.

Little did I know when I wrote this last November, I was running straight into the hardest season of my life. And to say these past eight months have been hard is a gross understatement. But knowing how to write it out. Knowing when. Knowing what to share. That's the place I've been stuck and decided to keep it closer for now. Because sometimes words aren't enough to express all that Jesus is doing.

But I can share that the winter was dark. There were moments of loss, grief, and loneliness and the future was anything but certain. To be honest, even putting to words what those long months were like seems impossible. I earnestly prayed for God to work miracles. In the spring, there were glimpses of hope. I could seen the beginnings of answers to specific prayers. And the summer brought miracles. Full on, undeniable, moving mountain type miracles that can only be explained by the work of a God who fervently goes after our hearts.

Through it all, trudging through the dark, hard places, God's presence has been so near. Although my desperate need of him never changes, my awareness of the need does. And there's nothing like your life being torn in two that pushes you to Jesus. There is something beautiful about the dark; God's glory shines brightest in the darkest spaces of my life. And remembering his goodness and his faithfulness was truly the only thing that kept me sane. Remembering the truth of the gospel. Remembering my constant need for him...

This past weekend I got an email from a dear adoptive mama who has walked her own valley these past few weeks. She poured out her heart on a screen about the hard places of the in between. Waiting for God to bring promises to fruition and the hard stuff of trusting him in the midst of it.

Isn't that our tension always? The trusting and the doubting. The peace and the anxiety. The joy and the grief. All mixed up because we're human and we forget the goodness and truth of the gospel. Praying that in the waiting you will run quickly to Jesus and he will remind you of his sovereignty, his plan, and his goodness in the midst of all of the brokenness.

As I was writing this response to her, I was reminded that I needed to hear it just as much as my sweet friend. That this prayer I whispered for her at that moment was the same prayer I need to whisper throughout my days as I run quickly to him. Jesus, help me remember...

So, that's our update. For now.

Life has been hard.

God has been good.

And I'm working to remember...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Introducing My Team

I am thrilled to announce several new additions to the Christian Adoption Consultants team! I have the privilege of training each of these women and working closely with them in the coming months and years as we partner together to serve adoptive families.

Joanna Eitel - Adoption Advocate and Personal Assistant 

Joanna and her husband Tyler live in Kansas City with their ever-joyful toddler James David and newborn Grace. Joanna has worked as an event coordinator and office manager for the past ten years. With both a heart for adoption and passion for all things administrative, she joined the CAC as an my assistant and Adoption Advocate. In addition to working part-time for CAC, Joanna and her husband serve as board members for The Zoe Foundation, a foundation committed to both funding adopting families and educating the public on adoption as a positive alternative to abortion.

Angela Kopplin - International Adoption Supervisor and Adoption Consultant

Angela Kopplin
Angela and her husband Paul are proud parents of two biological daughters and one adopted son. Angela is also an adoptee in full contact with her birth and adoptive parents as well as a birth mom with a nineteen year old birth son she recently re-connected with. Having experienced so many facets of the adoption process, she has also worked in international and domestic adoption for over fifteen years assisting families through all facets of the adoption process as well as working with adult adoptees. Angela has seen the Lord’s blessing firsthand through her own adoption stories and is thankful to continue to serve adoptive families in their own adoption journey. You can find out more about Angela and her family at her blog, Regarding Life Matters.

Gretchen McWhorter - Adoption Consultant

Gretchen and her husband, Justin, are former clients of Christian Adoption Consultants, and are the proud parents of three young children, ages 6, 3 and 1, all through open domestic adoptions. Gretchen has over 15 years of managing corporate communications for a Fortune 5 company and joined our team to pursue her passion for helping families expand through adoption. She provides families with a wide range of pre- and post-adoption services by working as an Adoption Consultant with CAC. She currently resides in the metro Atlanta area, where she and Justin are actively involved in the young adult ministry at their church. For more about Gretchen and her family, follow her blog over at Building Beautiful Families.

Casey Zaruba - Adoption Consultant (Domestic and International)

Casey Zaruba
Casey and her husband, Tyler, are currently in the process of adopting from the Czech Republic as well as working toward getting their little boy, Kamoga, home from Uganda. Her heart is for orphans and children in need for God to protect the least of them. The overwhelming need was evident during Casey and Tyler’s trip to Uganda last year while serving in an orphanage for a month. They were forever changed and will spend their life advocating and being a voice for the voiceless. Casey’s passion is seeing children set in families where they belong. She is excited to be a part of the CAC family and have a career that brings her heart so much joy. You can find out more about Casey and keep up with her family's adoption at her blog, Coffee Cup of Thoughts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Congratulations Tim and Wendy

Even the nurses said that this had God written all over it...

Tim and Wendy have been on a long journey to parenthood. When they began with Christian Adoption Consultants in December, they had already faced tremendous loss when it came to their attempts to have a family. But through it all, they were both sure God had a baby for them.

A few weeks ago they got a call that would change everything.

A call that would make the waiting and the tears and the heartache all worth it.

A baby girl was waiting in a hospital for Tim and Wendy.

Earlier that day, her brave birth mother had delivered her and made the choice for adoption. But she didn't have a plan and she hadn't chosen a family yet. That day she viewed a dozen prospective adoptive families and none was the perfect fit…until she heard about Tim and Wendy.

This picture of Wendy is one of my favorites. It captures the overwhelming emotions of meeting your daughter for the first time and becoming a mother.

And Tim? He brought his daughter home on Father's Day.

Wendy summed up their experience so well.  Adoption is emotional. We’ve shed a lot of tears and been through a lot. But I would do it all twenty times over for our daughter. She was so worth it.

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