Friday, August 29, 2014

congratulations Tom and Erica

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


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

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

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


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

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

And this precious bundle makes them a family of five.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

congratulations Dan and Kelsi

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


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

Literally overnight Dan and Kelsi became parents.


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

In a matter of hours they met their daughter.


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





Wednesday, August 27, 2014

congratulations Alan and Karen

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

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


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


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


A sweet little miracle.

A huge answer to countless prayers.

And the newest addition to this family of three. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

congratulations Marlin and Rosie

Marlin and Rosie know what it takes to fight for a family. They know about perseverance and persistence. And I was blessed to watch them walk it out with a grace and faith that was inspiring.


Marlin and Rosie have long had a passion for little ones and were eager to become parents. But when they began the journey towards creating a family, they had no idea the obstacles they would face. 

I remember my first call with Rosie; they had already been through so much by the time they had heard about Christian Adoption Consultants, she was weary. They were doubtful. But they still had hope.

That was last October. And since then they continued a long and hard road. I was honored to watch as Marlin and Rosie fought for what they knew God had called them to. Through it all they never gave up, never doubted their path, and always trusted in the God they believed would answer their prayers.


God called them to adoption. And because of His faithfulness and their perseverance, this little guy joined their family earlier this month.


And if you ask Rosie if all the waiting and heartache and struggle was worth it? 

She'll tell you it was worth it a million times over for their son.




Monday, August 25, 2014

congratulations Clair and Dawn

This past week has been a bit of a baby boom around here, and this sweet girl is right at the front end (stick with me the next few days and you'll meet more little additions to the CAC family!)


Clair and Dawn started with Christian Adoption Consultants in February. After having two biological children, they were blessed to adopt their sons through foster care. With their experience with their sons, their decision to adopt again was solidified and Clair and Dawn decided to continue to add to their family through infant adoption this time.

Just three and a half months later, they were matched with expectant parents. The one thing the couple was looking for that was non-negotiable was a family who were strong Christians and lived out their faith: Clair and Dawn were the perfect fit.

Over the next few months the two couples developed a close relationship, sharing phone calls and meeting each other face to face, even attending church together. They were able to develop a sweet friendship before their daughter entered the world last week. 

This little one is welcomed into an incredible family and four older siblings who will undoubtably love her unconditionally. Her birth parents will continually honored in their home. And the legacy they leave for their now five children to trust in a God who creates families.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I work with rockstars

Last week Christian Adoption Consultants' directors were in town and the Kansas City clan of CAC all gathered together. We spent hours dreaming, praying, and working together to better serve our adoptive families. 

Malcolm, Randy, Angela, Susan, Katie, Tracie, and Amy

Malcolm and Amy, after adopting their first daughter, launched Christian Adoption Consultants with a desire to help other families adopt with a Christ-centered approach. Since starting CAC in 2005, they adopted two other children domestically and are in the process of adopting from Ecuador.

Randy and I have history together at Hannah's Dream. And he and his wife Kelsey also have adoption woven through the fabric of their family with four biological children and five adopted, all with the help of CAC. Randy is an author, speaker, and blogger and works as CAC's marketing director.

Angela and I also worked together at Hannah's Dream. Angela has an amazing perspective on adoption as an adoptee, a birth mother, and an adoptive mama. She's heading up our International Adoption Program launching soon.

Katie joined our team after brining home her youngest through CAC.  Katie and her family have a passion to see the church care for children and embrace adoption and has a special gift of encouraging families on their journey.

Tracie taught me the ropes of being an Adoption Consultant. She and John have three biological kids and have adopted four more (two domestically and two from the Ukraine).  They have an incredible heartbeat for children and especially for finding those with special needs special homes.

Just today I had a chance to finally meet Dawn and Jason, our husband and wife consultant team out of Florida. The KC CAC clan met up with them on their way home from a road trip vacation.  We gathered with them and their nine adopted kiddos at a local park and had a blast. Between all of us we had 21 kids running through the park together.

Randy, Susan, Tracie, Angela, Jason, and Dawn

And that's just a handful of our team (and our kids)! You can read more here about others at Christian Adoption Consultants that God has knit together through their own adoption stories to serve others in theirs.

Only half of all the kiddos today...

These are the people I am blessed to work with. Each one is incredibly gifted and talented. But more than that, they share a passion for adoption, a passion for people, and a passion for God's call to care for the orphan. They are willing to step into the hard places; the bittersweetness of adoption and not just walk alongside families, but live it with them.

Want a glimpse into my work week the last few days?
  • Five families were chosen by expectant parents to raise their little ones,
  • Two families traveled to meet their expectant mamas for the first time,
  • Three babies were born into their forever families,
  • And swapping dozens of stories with the rest of the team that shares a heart for families and adoption

Euguene Peterson, in his book Leap Over a Wall, describes work this way: "Our work is derivative from God the worker...Work is the primary context for our spirituality...The spiritual life begins - seriously begins - when we get a job and go to work. Work is our Spirit-annointed participation in God's work."  

It's amazing to be a part of a team whose heartbeat is to equip families to live out their call to adoption and participate in God's work. We often say amongst each other, "We don't have to do this, we get to do this!"


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

wherever your feet are

I've written about multi-tasking and mothering before and how awesome I am at doing a million things at once. I can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, referee the fight between the kids using only "the look," and answer the door for the plumber all with a phone up to my ear on a conference call. My life as a mama blessed to work from home is filled with juggling balancing children and car pools and conference calls and chaos. 

The summer is a tricky thing for our family. How do I continue to work and balance kiddos who are out of school? We've found a pretty fantastic solution: the kids attend a summer camp program three days a week and the other two days are "Mommy Days." It's a great gig: the kids have a chance to have some structure, friendships, and adventure while I work and then we get the benefit of those lazy summer days to sleep in, head to the pool, and spend special time together.

But like so many other things in my life, God continues to patiently teach me over and over and over again and remind me of what I too often forget. Those lessons I tend to forget on what really matters, eternal perspective, and what real, sacrificial love looks like.

Because if I'm honest, even though I feel like I have the best of both worlds: being a mama to two amazing kids and working in adoption which makes my heart come alive, it's hard for me to be fully present where I'm at. I struggle to not check my email during a game with my kids or a family movie. And it's hard to sit down when my to do list is lingering.

I could come up with great reasons why I need to be doing multiple things at once: The kids are getting older and can do so much for themselves. There are babies that need families and urgent things I need to attend to. But no matter how big my kids get and how many babies need families, my kids need ME. They need me fully present and engaged in their world and their life. They need me to look in their eyes and listen to their stories and hug their necks. 

It turns out I am not awesome and doing a million things at once. Shepherding hearts takes engagement. Building relationships takes intentionality. Sacrificial love takes focus. All impossible to do if my heart is a million places.

The other day, it was like God whispered to my heart, "Be where your feet are."

So often as the day stretches before me, there is so much to do and I feel like I'm going dozens of directions. It's hard for my head and my heart to focus on just one thing while there's so much to attend to swirling around me.

But I can be where my feet are. When Isabelle tells me about her day and the drama that goes along with being an 8 year old girl, I can look in her eyes and listen to her words and tell her she's amazing. When Jackson asks to toss the ball back and forth or asks me to shoot hoops with him or hugs me for the millionth time that day, I can set aside my chores and run and play with my boy.

There's something about being fully in the moment, being "all there," that allows me not to miss a thing. The way Isabelle scrunches up her nose when she laughs. Jackson's eyes that dance when telling me a good story. Hearing Bella's heart after we turn out her light and I bless her. Sharing Jack's discovery of a cicada shell or lightning bug in the backyard.


Will there still be days that I'm balancing making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and conference calls? Absolutely. Or times I shoot a text to one of my clients while at the park? I'm sure of it. But I've determined to be where my feet are. My conference calls will be scheduled around my mommy days. My emails can be sent after bedtime stories. When I'm playing a game with my kids on the floor of our living room, my phone will be parked on the table in the kitchen. When we head to the pool, I won't be poolside; I'll be the mom screaming down the water slide.

And of course this extends from my parenting and into my marriage and friendships. When Jamy and I catch up on our day he will have all my attention. Across the table at a restaurant with my friend my phone will be tucked away in my bag.

When I'm all there; listening to the stories, playing the games, cherishing the hugs, and looking into their eyes, my heart is fully present too. Able to slow down to notice. Able to be grateful for what's been given. Able to connect and build true relationships as a mother, a wife, and a friend. Able to see the beauty all around me.

Amidst the chaos and the conference calls and the car pools...

I will be where my feet are.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

congratulations Todd and Amanda

From the time Todd and Amanda first met years ago, they talked and dreamed of having a family. Their hopes and dreams of becoming parents and raising a family didn't come as easily as they had planned though. 


Todd and Amanda were foster parents for a brief time and had the opportunity to have two amazing little girls in their home. This time shaped their hearts. Although they found fostering to be very rewarding, it was temporary and they knew their hearts desired to be permanent parents. The time they shared with these girls encouraged them to continue to dream of creating their forever family and to pursue adoption.

Todd and Amanda started the adoption process and were home study approved last year but didn't begin with Christian Adoption Consultants until the end of March.  Just five days after they began with me, I emailed them with a situation: an expectant mom due with a baby boy who needed an adoptive family.


And just like that, after years of praying for a little one to be in their home forever, they were chosen to be parents. The next few months were full of getting to know the brave woman carrying this sweet boy; even visiting her and seeing his face for the first time on an ultrasound. Preparing a nursery and preparing their hearts to bring him home.


Last week, their son was born. This week, they brought him home. This is one of their first family photos. Amanda texted me last Friday "[he] is forever ours! We feel complete..."  

Congrats to all three of you and your forever family...


Monday, August 4, 2014

this is you

Sometimes God drops a bomb on you. You know the kind: the one where Jesus drop kicks you when you're minding your own business...

Stacey shared these words this morning and I had one of those moments over my Mac and Soy Chai Latte. 

Tim and Stacey had one of those crazy-hard-wonderful adoption stories. Walking with them was an honor. And hearing these words from Stacey made them even more meaningful. Read how God used her almost 2 year old, her town house, and a kiddie pool to catch a glimpse of perspective and grace.



Norah loves water. the sprinkler, the bathtub, the pool, the toilet (wait what?)... she loves it all.

A few weeks ago we had plans to go swimming at my aunt and uncle's pool, so I spent the morning rushing around getting ready. we're finally ready and I'm trying to urge norah out the door with my arms full of diaper bag and sunscreen and snacks and floaties when I say, "Come on, time to go! We're going to the pool!"

She freezes, then turns and runs to the back door shouting "pool! pool! pool!" Her little blue plastic kiddie pool is on our patio, and she is f r e a k i n g out with excitement.

She's confused. she heard "pool," and thought I meant that pool, the tiny one on our back patio. what I meant was to get in the car so we can drive to my aunt and uncle's pool, an amazing new pool with a kiddie area, with a splash pad and buckets that dump water, plus a playground! sure, the kiddie pool is fun. but! the big pool! It will take 30 minutes to drive across town to get there, but it's worth it because I know she will enjoy the big pool and seeing her aunt and grandma so much more.

I tell her no, we need to get in the car and the you-know-what hits the fan. MAJOR DRAMA. She's thrown herself face down into the carpet in utter devastation that mama said "pool" but NOW SHE'S NOT LETTING ME IN THE POOL AND MY LIFE IS DEFINITELY OVER.

So I'm juggling bags and buckling this little ball of negative emotions into her car seat, getting frustrated at the ridiculousness of the whole situation when I suddenly have the thought...

This is you.

-----

You have all these plans for your life, ideas of how you think things should go. you think it would be better for you if these certain things happen at these certain times, and when it doesn't happen, you get angry and throw yourself on the carpet and cry and scream. you want the little blue plastic kiddie pool, but you have no idea what I have planned instead. all you can see is what's right in front of you. You have no idea.

Two years ago we decided it was time to think about moving, so we put our town home on the market. I didn't think we would still be here. especially because four months ago we finally got an offer and a contract on our home, so we started house shopping and getting excited and making plans and daydreaming about a new home for our little family... then it didn't happen. It all fell through, so we're still here.

I'm also reminded of several years ago when we decided to start our family, something I thought would be easy. It wasn't. I had plans for how that would go, and none of them happened. Thankfully. Because otherwise we wouldn't have Norah. 

So when I want to kick and scream because our home hasn't sold and we can't move, I remember how I saw myself in the tear-streaked face of my toddler as I buckled her into her car seat that day. She didn't know I meant what I said, that we really were going to the pool and that it was going to be a million times better than her blue plastic pool in our backyard.

How could I be frustrated with her, when I act the same way?

I buckled her in and said, "I'm sorry that you're sad. mommy gets sad too when I don't get what I think I want. we are going to the swimming pool, but right now we need to wait and be patient. I love you."

So for now, we wait and be patient and loosen our grip on our blue plastic kiddie pool.


For more of Tim and Stacey's adoption and their adventures, click here.
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