Thursday, August 27, 2015

Adoption Story: David and Catherine

Sometimes, the best surprises come when you least expect it. Sometimes, after the storm breaks, God sends a rainbow you never thought you'd see. 

Sometimes, miracles begin with brokenness. 

Read more of David and Catherine's story as Catherine shares how a daughter came to be theirs...

David and I always knew we wanted to adopt some day. We even talked about it while we were dating in college. We just thought it would happen later. We’d get pregnant first and then we’d start the long and difficult road of adoption. But after almost two years of trying to get pregnant, we both began to feel strongly that God was directing us down a different path.

We began working with Christian Adoption Consultants in March of this year and our home study was approved just a month later! Just a few short months later, we were matched with an expectant mama due in a matter of days. Six days later, she went into labor and we rushed to meet her at the hospital. After spending a few days with her at the hospital, we found out she had changed her mind and decided to parent. We were completely heartbroken. It was hard to see God at work during the days that followed, when we were angry and couldn’t see any good in the pain. But our God is gracious and merciful and makes beauty from ashes. Just two weeks later we were matched again, and our daughter was born on July 24th.

We have come to realize that sometimes God says no to the plans you make to turn your heart and your desires toward what He has in store for you. Without our failed match, we would’ve never had the joy and privilege of calling Emma our daughter. She’s more than we could have ever dreamed of, and we have been in awe of how God’s perfect plan unfolded for us over the past few weeks. Thank you to Susan and CAC for all the support, prayers and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it without you!

We are celebrating with David and Catherine on the birth of their sweet daughter, and the dreams that God graciously granted for this family of three.

Beautiful photos credited to Grace Adams Photography.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Reality of the First Day of School

This morning I looked back at my blog posts of the kids first days of school with sweet words to my kindergartener and first grader and how to embrace everyday as a mama. And all of those sentiments are sweet and I dearly love my children.

But this morning was a day of rejoicing.

Summer's over, ya'll. And it went on a bit long this year.

Our kids started a week later than they usually do and those seven days admittedly felt like an eternity. I would see friends post to social media sweet first day of school pictures and be jealous. And everyone we run into lately (the dentist, the grocer, even the lifeguard) see the kids and tell them how lucky they are to still be on summer vacation while their mother is inwardly rolling her eyes.

Summer is amazing. By that last day of school, we're all ready for a more relaxed pace and days that are unscheduled. But come August, I am more than ready for some structure and sanity.

I say this tongue in cheek since we're about to pull our kids OUT of school just days in to have even more family togetherness at Disney. But for now I will glory in the schedules and the rhythm and an empty house for a few hours.  

In case you're wondering, I did have some moments wondering how they got so tall, how I'm a mama to a 3rd and 4th grader, and how quickly they're growing up.

But this is the reality of school...

May (kids):

August (mamas):

So cheers to the first day of school, a year full of some amazing memories, and being ready to do be done with it all again come May!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Adoption Story: Dana and Meghan

If pictures could tell a story, these would tell a story of life and celebration and love.

Dana and Meghan started with Christian Adoption Consultants last year. In February their home study and profile was ready. Just a few short weeks later I sent them information on expectant parents for their little one. And days later, I had the honor of calling them with the news that they would be parents this summer.

Over the next several months, Dana and Meghan developed a relationship with their expectant parents through calls and a visit, prepared their hearts and their home, and prayed for this little one.

And just a few weeks ago, they welcomed their son into the world. A son that was prayed for not just by them, but by dozens and dozens of friends and family anxious to welcome him home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Adoption Story: Jim and Lisa

Jim and Lisa's story to grow their family has been marked with patience and waiting. Waiting to find each other, waiting to become pregnant, and finally waiting for their adoption. 

Before we were engaged, my now husband Jim and I worked through a book called “101 Questions to Ask Before Getting Engaged” by H. Norman Wright. It went through pretty much every question you can imagine. One of the questions centered around children. It asked if we were open to children in our marriage and whether we would be open to adoption. I remember both of us agreeing that we wanted as many children as God would allow. I was already in my mid-30’s so we thought realistically that number would likely be two or three children. When it came to adoption we agreed that if we could not have biological children, this would be something we would be open to. It was a quick and easy conversation. We never imagined in that conversation what was to come and how God would work in our lives.

It became apparent shortly after we got married that getting pregnant was not going to be as easy as we thought. For two years, we worked with our doctors to maximize our fertility using supplements and natural family planning. After those two years of trying, we realized that becoming pregnant would be near impossible for us. As we were going through our infertility journey, in the thick of things, it was hard to imagine God having other plans. But slowly, very slowly, our hearts turned more and more to adoption.

Once we decided to start the process, we realized how overwhelming it was. We didn’t really know which way to turn when it came to adoption...We had heard that it would take up to two years to be matched with an expectant mom through domestic adoption. However, we knew that being older, time was not on our side, so we looked for ways to shorten that wait. We soon discovered Christian Adoption Consultants.

Jim and Lisa started working with me in September and by December were home study ready. Less than four months later, they were matched with an expectant mother due this summer.

We have chosen to have an open adoption with the expectant mom. This means that we have gotten to know her (we have even flown to Florida to meet her). We talk and text all the time and will continue to send pictures, letters and talk and text after placement. We hope that we can even continue the visits to Florida as often as we can. We want our child to know their biological parents and know their full story. Research has shown that both the expectant mom and the baby are more well adjusted after placement because of open adoption. We care about the expectant mom and consider her a part of our family.

Then, one day in July, they got the call that would change their lives forever. Their expectant mother was in labor. It took Jim and Lisa, who had been waiting years for this moment, exactly four hours to be packed and on a plane to meet their son.

I am forever grateful to Nathan's birth mom. She wanted us in the delivery room and we were so happy we made it in time for the birth. Watching our son be born is an experience I will never forget. Our birth mom, in the midst of all the pain she was in, made sure to remind us to go over to the isolette to meet our son. She wanted me to cut the cord and I got to do that as well. She also gave me the second hospital band so I was allowed to go back to the nursery and watch the nurses weigh him and wash him. The biggest moment that will forever be seared in my memory is looking back at our birth mom and she was crying but I could tell they were good tears. I mouthed the words "thank you" to her and she just smiled and nodded. She told me later seeing our faces when we saw him cemented her decision in her mind.

What my husband and I have learned throughout this process is that patience and trust are necessary when it comes to adoption. We had to trust that the timing would be perfect for us. Looking into his little face all the pain and heartache of infertility washed away and God's plan suddenly made perfect sense. In the midst of the pain and brokenness of adoption, God chose us as our son's parents and gave us the gift of our son. 

We are so excited at what the future will be for our family and we know now that adoption has always been the right choice for our family.

A sweet congrats to this family of three. And to two parents who knew the wait would be worth it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Storm Brewing

We recently bought our first piece of real art. We chose it to hang on a wall in our breakfast nook. It's one of my favorite rooms in our new house; bright with sun slanting through the windows in the afternoon. The previous owners had a huge canvas of lemons hanging there. I don't know much about art but I did know I didn't want lemons or the cliche garden or beach or trees. When we finally found this piece all I needed to do was point it out to Jamy. We both knew it would hang in our home; in this exact spot. As we were hanging it, we laughed that it made us feel like real grown ups.

It was a perfect fit. I love the colors and the movement. I love how the sunlight in the room catches the brush strokes. And I fell in love with it even more when I found out the artist titled it "Storm Brewing." Yes; this piece belongs in this house.

Hanging things on the wall is just the beginning of us settling in. I can't tell you how good it's been for our hearts to make this space into our home after all these past few years have held. A move across the country away from all we've known into what was undoubtedly the hardest season of our lives. On the front end, we had no idea what we were moving into. (And of course isn't that always how most stories go?) When we left all we knew in Michigan, there truly was a storm brewing.

Within a span of two years, we would lose the job, church, and community we moved across the county for. And it turns out that was only the beginning of the storm. The real tempest hit when sin and betrayal and hurt entered our marriage and our family. For the next few years we swirled in a storm trying to gain our footing. We went through seperations, counseling, shepherding our kids hearts (and our own) through grief and loss. We fought for our marriage and our family. We stumbled as we trudged through the rain and the wind and what sometimes felt like typhoons. 

Storms rage and can rip through homes with destruction. They cause chaos and leave a mess. And sometimes the storms are redemptive and cleansing and bring new life. Our storm did both.

It seems fitting to have this huge reminder in hanging in a place of such prominence in our home. Every day, I get a glimpse of a canvas that prompts me to remember how God used a storm to save our family.

It turns out the storm that was brewing in our family was beautiful.

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