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!

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