Thursday, November 29, 2012

On What REALLY Happened

People have been gracious. On the whole no one has asked for the back story about what went down with Jamy and I a year ago that left many (including me) shocked and stunned. I've only had one person ask; "so what really happened?" Others have been generous to let us take the lead and not ask too many questions.

Those close to us know details. And someday we hope to share these with our children so they know a part of their history and the story God wrote for our family.

Maybe someday we'll tell the back story publicly. Maybe someday Jamy will share the details since they are his to share. Maybe someday God will prompt us to share in an effort that He be glorified and others place their hope in him.

But for now this is what REALLY happened:

Sin happened.
What I thought would never touch me and my family personally...did. What I thought we were immune to... we weren't. What I believed I was safe from...I wasn't. We live in a broken and fallen world and sin hit home for us.  

Exposure happened.
We're promised it always will. Be sure, your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). I'm thankful Jamy had the courage to tell me what was going on, knowing that it could ruin us. But he was more concerned about his soul than he was for our marriage. This saved him.

Confession and repentance happened.
When everything hit the fan and Jamy confessed what had been going on, he was at the point of true repentance. He had men to walk beside him to show him his sin and show him the gospel. He was at a point of true brokenness and grief over his sin and it's effects.  

Forgiveness happened.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived the life we could never live and died the death we should have died. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

It would have been easy to become bitter and angry and resentful on my end. I had been hurt and sinned against. But I couldn't get past the parable in the Bible about the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. In it, a man was forgiven an enormous debt by the king and afterwards he failed to forgive a petty amount someone else owed him. How could I not forgive Jamy when I have been forgiven immeasurably more by my King?

Grace happened.
My goal is to be the tangible face of Christ to my husband. I want Jamy to have a glimpse of what Christ offers through my grace towards him. This doesn't always happen but I strive towards offering him grace in the big and small things daily.

‎True grace is shocking and even scandalous. It shakes our standards with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. And not just "sinners" in general, grace chooses to forgive those closest to us. Those who have truly let us down, those who have brought havoc into our lives with their careless words or selfish actions, those who stole the things most precious to us, those who cheated us, lied to us, and left us with nothing but pain.  This kind of grace is difficult to even think about and truly impossible to pull off on our own. It can only come from Christ who is at work in our lives. That's why true grace is more than just a nice idea or a pretty word, it is revolutionary. This kind of grace will transform lives, restore marriages, unify the church, and truly change the world.  (Phillip Yancey)

Work happened.
Both Jamy and I immediately went to work. We had a lot to work out. We let God do hard work on our hearts. He immediately got a group of men around him for gospel-centered accountability and who could speak truth into his life. We began individual and marriage counseling. The kids even went to play therapy for a season. We read all the quality material we could get our hands on, surrounded ourselves with people who challenged us to trust Jesus, and pushed hard into walking closely with Christ. Our lives literally stopped in order to focus on rebuilding our family.

Redemption happened.
Because we placed our hope in Christ, we have a new marriage and family. Our marriage has been saved. We will hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). When we were faithless, he remained faithful. In the end, even with our hard work, it was Jesus that saved us.

And all of this "happening" really is the whole story. The only story that needs to be told. The only one that's really important. That God offers forgiveness, grace, hope, and redemption when we trust him.  

Photos by Atkinson Photographgy

For more of our story, click the marriage tab at the left.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Forget!

This week your last chance to take advantage of Christian Adoption Consultants National Adoption Awareness Month discount! We are still offering 10% off all full service consulting packages and 20% off all consulting packages for those open to our Minority Adoption Program.  (This may not be combined with any other discounts and applies to all applications received by the end of the month.)

Who is Christian Adoption Consultants?  Click here.

What does it mean to hire an adoption consultant?  Click here.

Want to get started?  Click here.

What if you have more questions?  Click here.

Today could be the first step you take on the journey towards adoption! Have friends who are thinking about adoption? Make sure they see this post!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Bowl: Year 60 [ish]

The Turkey Bowl is an O'Connell Thanksgiving tradition that goes way back.

My mother is from an Irish Catholic family. And everything that phrase conjures up is probably true of the O'Connell clan: lots of kids (eight to be exact), a slew of cousins, a love of good beer and Celtic music, Catholic schools and confirmation, and lots of love and laughs to go around.

In an effort to get her husband and children "out from underfoot," my grandma shooed them out of the house Thanksgiving day so she could prep for the Thanksgiving meal. My grandpa gathered up some of his high school buddies from St. Therese and played football all day.

And so began what would become a grand tradition between several Irish families playing the Turkey Bowl every year the day of Thanksgiving. An old raggedy trophy is passed around to the winners. Eventually the two men who began it all, Dave O'Connell and Bill McCarthy became the inevitable team captains, doing more barking orders and jabbing at the other team than anything.

Patriarchs of the Turkey Bowl: Dave O'Connell and Bill McCarthy 

The players all gather at a host family's home (which changes yearly along with the field) for hot chocolate, coffee, and required pregame donuts. Then it's off to a nearby park or school to play while sveral women with kiddos too small yet to play stay behind to chat.  The game is on rain or shine.  And in Detroit in November that really means in the snow, sleet, or blizzard. Part of the uniform is always long johns. The fields can be frozen or muddy, and one year even covered in goose droppings. The O'Connells stop football for nothing.

By the time the brothers and sisters, cousins, their children and now grandchildren, and friends all show up there can easily be over forty people on the field. A rowdy game is played and we often met prospective mates of cousins and uncles this way. Two hand touch often always turns into tackle. One year when I was eight I hollered at my uncle Dennis for rolling my mom during a play. "Don't you know she's PREGNANT!" One of the favorite plays involves getting the ball to some of the littlest players. They usually got pretty far since no one feels ok about stopping a four year old.

It's been awhile since I've been to Detroit to play in the Turkey Bowl. This year, we played in Kansas City for the Midwest Edition with the Weston clan (my parents, Tim and Meg, and our crew). Jackson heard that Nonny is pretty good and she was first pick for his team. I'm proud to report I ran half the length of our backyard for a touchdown.

The dream lives on Grandpa.  You'd be proud.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank Full

My heart is overflowing this morning. This Thanksgiving seems more significant than past years. Probably because of all we've been through the past year. Right now my kitchen is full: Jamy is prepping for dinner, my dad and younger brother are chatting sports.  Jackson and my sister-in-law are playing with pearler beads. My mom is teaching Isabelle to knit on the couch. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is playing in the background. And I am sitting here taking it all in and feeling blessed.

I'm thankful for my husband. This time last year we had Thanksgiving without him. This year he's cooking in the kitchen. We've found ourselves often sharing knowing smiles, thankful that we ended up of this side of the craziness and that God has been so faithful.

I'm thankful for my kids. They've taught me more about my strengths and weaknesses than anyone or anything else. They make me laugh out loud at their antics and wit and honesty. They love others with selfless compassion and are learning to trust Jesus.

I'm thankful for our church. Redeemer exists to see God cultivate communities of transformed disciples who live for the glory of God and the good of the city. Our church has diligently preached the gospel in a way that has changed our family and provided true community.

I'm thankful for my job. In my role as a social worker and Adoption Consultant I see first hand the sacrifice adoption comes with. I've counseled birth mamas and been in delivery rooms as they choose life. I work with adoptive families across the country every day who are not only passionate about children, but just as passionate about loving the birth parents well and ensuring they get the best care. Watching this play out with each family is always a gift.

I'm thankful for Jesus.  He has done incredible work in our family since our last Thanksgiving. Trusting Him has made all the difference.  He truly is the giver of all good gifts.  

Today I'm not missing the opportunity to be thank full.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving and LIFE

This past weekend my heart exploded.

Snuggles with one of my newest littles, Norah

Some of my local clients families friends converged at my home for a meal. They all brought their families. Some kiddos biological. Some adopted. All clients through Christian Adoption Consultants. Many couldn't join us but I anticipate doing this often.

We gathered for lunch at my home.  Jamy cooked (of course) and families brought food to share. We had kids in the backyard playing in the bounce house and on the swingset. Dads in the living room laughing. Moms in the kitchen bouncing babies on their hips. All adoptive families converging to share in the goodness of God.

They are all at different points in their adoption journey. Some brought their adopted kiddos. Some are still in the process; obtaining their home study, working on their profile, or waiting for the Lord to bring them their little one.

Tim and Stacey and their daughter, Norah

I've walked closely with all of these families. For some I completed their home study and got to know their family story intimately. Some of these families I've been in delivery rooms with as I was coaching their birth mamas and crying with them at the birth of their little one. For others I've taken calls in the wee hours. For all of them I've celebrated the glorious goodness of God.

Steve, Maria, and their little guy Asher

They shared their stories with each other in my living room. Stories about their amazing birth mamas. Stories about the hard waits. Stories about the amazing timing of God.  There was much laughter and my heart was full. What I thought would be a brief get together turned into over four hours of true fellowship.  

As they were all standing in my kitchen, introducing themselves to each other, I was amazed at what each family represented  Each of them has responded to God with a resounding "YES!" to LIFE.  I had to choke back the tears as I was thanking God for our food and for the families around my table that day. Families willing to sacrifice, willing to open their home, and willing to walk the hard road of adoption.

These families (those pictured here and my others scattered across the U.S.), teach me daily what the gospel looks like.  

Thank you dear friends. I'm honored to walk with you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We're Getting Out of the Boat Today

Several weeks ago Jamy was reading the story of Noah to the kids for family devotions. You know the story: the godly man, the ark, the animals two by two. But this time he read the story in a fresh way and he shared it with me later that night.

We see Noah's story as a happy one with animals and a rainbow. You could even throw in a pair of unicorns if you believed they lived back in the day. Noah took a nice cruise with his family, had a pet bird, landed on the top of a mountain with a nice view, and went on to populate the entire earth. Lovely story.

But Noah's family lived in chaos for about a year in that boat. They gave up their old lives, did crazy things to ensure the safety of their family, lived in misery on a boat for a year waiting on God to move, and had to begin a brand new life. Noah had his wife, kids, and God (with a few animals scattered in there as well).

If you're familiar with our story, you know we've been living in chaos for the last year. The analogy doesn't last long between the VanSyckle's and Noah (not to mention Jamy can't grow a beard), but stick with me.  

November 15th is a big day for us.

One year ago today I got the worst news of my life.

One year and one day ago I left our house with the kids and knew when we got back home my husband would have moved out.

One year and two days ago Jamy and I sat on the couch with our kids and had to tell them that Daddy had some work to do on his heart and would be gone for awhile.

This began a separation that lasted almost three months. Since that day, our entire family has been through months of counseling. We've lost relationships and had hard, honest conversations with  those closest to us.  We've had to stop everything to ensure our family was safe. Sins have been exposed (in both of our hearts) and we've walked through repentance and forgiveness. We've celebrated reconciliation. We've had to lean hard on each other, our church family, and on Christ. We've had to rebuild our family. We've learned a ton about humility and love.  We've learned to find our identity and hope in Jesus.  

This past year we've been on a "boat" that God has been using to literally save our family. God took us to a place where all we had was Him to rescue us.  When Jamy shared this with me it changed my entire perspective. It's been easy to think of this past year as hellish. And in many ways that's absolutely accurate. But this was God's divine and sovereign rescue plan for our family. Had we gone on as if nothing happened, had Jamy not had the courage to be honest, had I given up, our family would have crumbled. But God had a bigger, grander plan for our marriage and family. The boat got messy, the trip was bumpy, and the journey was (and will continue to be) long.  

God used this past year as a vehicle to rescue and redeem our family.

So today we're ready to get out of the boat, knowing that He has promised to be faithful and celebrating the new start we have with our new view. Today there is a tension between the real grief over what sin has done to our family and the celebration of the power of God's work in Jamy's life and our family. I've decided to embrace all of it.

And I am secretly hoping I'll spot a rainbow today.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Her Own Words: An Adoptive Mama Celebrates Her Son's Birthday and His Birth Parent's Love

Two years ago today, I got a call much like this one from one of my birthmamas.  It was actually her boyfriend who said he was pretty sure it was "time." That night and for the next several days, I watched Richy and Jess, the adoptive parents, love the entire birth family well.  They laughed with them, swapped life stories, gave them space to process and grieve, and wept for the bitter-sweetness of it all.  It was an honor to be there in the hallway to see them meet their son for the first time.  I stood in awe at the ceremony where two parents handed their son to two others; entrusting his life to them.  That day Tristan forever joined two families and all of them will be celebrating his little life today.

Two years ago today, we spent the day in a hospital with the family that had chosen us to raise their son. We had sat through ultrasounds together, laughed over Chinese food and had met at the hospital late one night the previous week for a false alarm. This was the day, though, we all knew it. It was an emotional day, moving from laughing together to sitting quietly in the tension of the moment.

She had considered an abortion, she told us, but quickly decided she wanted her baby to be adopted instead. They sat with friends and family and looked through adoptive family profiles and unanimously chose us, because, they said, we seemed like real people, like we didn’t have it all together. I will always be grateful for what must be our obvious flaws, because they brought our son to us. 

We walked the hospital, we ate together, and then once her epidural kicked in, she called for us to come and sit in her room. We made her laugh, we talked about music, about movies, about the baby. When his arrival was imminent, we waited in the hallway, tense, excited, trying to hold lightly to a baby that was ours but not ours, not yet. After an eternity, we heard him cry, and we cried too. He was precious, perfect, and we knew her heart was breaking.

Minutes later they wheeled him out to the NICU for his heart to be monitored, and they took a minute to let us see him. His grandmother asked the nurse to hand him to me, and in a second, in a single second, I was a mommy again and he was my baby. “These are the parents,” she told the staff, in an act of generosity that is beyond my understanding.

The next two days were a whirlwind of emotion, being family together, knowing these were their final hours with him. They had a relinquishment ceremony where they read blessings over Tristan and handed him to us, and we gave her an engraved necklace and a poem I had written, and again, we cried together.

People ask us why they didn’t raise him, and they had their reasons, some that I know and some I never will. I can say with total confidence that it wasn’t for a lack of love. They made a choice and they made it for him, to give him the kind of family they wanted him to have, despite it breaking their hearts. Over the last two years, we’ve met at parks and restaurants, exchanging texts and emails, and they have told us that seeing him with us reassures  them that they made the right choice, that they’re so thankful for us.
Photo by Shelley Paulson

Today, my 2 year old woke up singing, and I am thankful. I am unbelievably thankful for a young woman and her loved ones who chose life for this beautiful little one, my singer. Happy birthday, Tristan! You are so loved. 

Jess if one of my favorite bloggers (and people). You can find her blog at where you can read more about their adoption, her adventures as a mommy, and anything else that comes to her mind. I often have to be careful I don't spit coffee on my computer as I laugh out loud reading her stuff. Jess describes herself as "a Texan living in Missouri, learning how to pray- a wife to a rocker, missionary and a worship leader (same guy). I am a Mac evangelist and food lover, survivor of multiple complicated (understatement) pregnancies and mommy to 4 amazing kids on earth and 2 amazing kids in heaven. I'm an adoptive parent, a reader, and a domestic goddess who hates to clean." Check out her blog - you won't be sorry.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Steps to Adoption: A [Mini] Tutorial

One of the questions I hear most often is around the process of adoption and the steps involved. Adoption is a complex process that includes preparation, education, the legal process, finances, and matters of the heart.  No two adoptions are the same, but each takes the same general steps.  

Ashley and Jeremy began consulting and two months later had sweet little Zion

Here's your adoption road map:

Hire an adoption consultant
Hiring an adoption professional to walk you through the process, direct you to quality and ethical agencies and attorneys, and ensure a higher level of security will be key. Someone to help you determine when to take each step and how to complete them is invaluable.  Check out the tab on the top for more reasons to hire an adoption consultant.  

Complete a home study
The home study is an evaluation of a prospective adoptive family that is required by state and federal regulations. This involves education of the adoption process, background checks, medical evaluations, and an enormous amount of paperwork. Typically, a social worker makes at least three visits with your family and writes an evaluation of your ability to provide a safe, loving, and secure home for a child.

Create your profile
Your profile is a sort of  "scrapbook" of your family that birth parents use to choose the adoptive family. You can imagine how important it is for your family's personality, passion, and heart to come through in these pages to give birth parents a clear picture of who you are and how their baby will be raised. You can see a few examples of how we create these here.

Prepare your finances
The cost of adoption can be high. Preparing your finances by applying for available grants, creative fundraising, and accessing tax and employer credits will allow you to have the resources necessary to be available to situations.

Apply to agencies and wait for a match
I've found the most efficient and effective way to adopt is by using a multi-agency approach. This approach gives greater exposure to available situations in adoption friendly states and cuts the wait time down considerably.  For most of our families, adoptions typically take between six and ten months.

Match with a situation
Once your profile is in multiple states with multiple agencies (more on this new approach here), you can be presented to birth families. When an agency or your consultant is contacted about a situation that matches your preferences, you are given all of the information available on the situation (health of the baby, etc.) and have a chance to think and pray over your profile being presented. The birth parents then choose the adoptive family they want to raise their child.
*Many of our families are prepared for an emergency situation or a "stork drop" where the baby is already born and this happens over a matter of hours.

Since we work with adoption friendly states, the baby is placed with the adoptive family soon after birth. At that time, physical custody is granted to the adoptive family.

Post Placement
Each state requires a post placement supervision period of anywhere from 30 days to approximately 9 months. During this time your social worker makes regular visits with you to ensure the placement is going well and provide any needed support for your family.

After the required post placement supervision, a finalization hearing is held in where a judge will sign the final judgement decreeing you to be your child's parents and legally changing their name.

Although there are multiple steps to adoption and they can be complex, finding the right people to guide you through the journey can make all the difference. The right consultant, agency, and attorney can lower the risk of an adoption and avoid the stress of feeling like you're on your own.

In the end, after all of the hard work and paperwork and finances and waiting, providing a child with a forever family is worth it.

Want more information on adoption?  Email me at

Want more adoption [mini] tutorials? Click here for more resources!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Met My Husband for the First Time

November 15, 2011.  That's when I met my husband for the first time.


Some of you know our story. I first spotted him at the snack bar on a church campground when I was 13 and he was 15.  He was scooping ice cream for customers and I had a funny feeling, even at 13, that he would change my world.

And he did. Over the next few years we became friends, then inseparable best friends, then a dating couple, then married. We knew everything about each other inside and out; our quirks and habits, our joys and fears, our dreams and faith.

At least that's what I thought.

The reality was I knew almost everything. But nothing at the same time since there was a huge part of him struggling and wrestling.

So I met him, all of him, about this time last year. After knowing him for almost twenty years, he was brave enough to introduce me to what he thought would end it all. He was courageous enough to finally speak the truth and it's made all the difference.

Don't get me wrong. The truth was painful and hard and ugly. It was devastating to our family. It was the deepest hurt I've ever experienced.

But true healing, peace, and redemption can only come after truth. And now I'm free to love all of him the way Christ loves me; despite my failures and shortcomings. While I was learning who he really was, I was also able to be honest about myself. While dealing with the reality of my husband's sin, I also needed to deal with my own. Because I'm just as much in need of a Savior as he is.

It's funny to think that after 20 years, I've only really known Jamy for a few months. But the man he is today I wouldn't trade for any other. The truth has truly set him free to love our family well.

He is an amazing Daddy: attentive to our kids and their hearts. Wrestling with them, reading to them, teaching them, and answering their never-ending questions with godly wisdom.

He is a wonderful husband: engaged with me and willing to fight for our marriage. Willing to put himself second daily and ensuring I feel loved and cared for.

I love this man I've met. And I'm so glad we happen to be married.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Her Own Words: A Post Abortive Mama Shares Her Story

Kathy and I go way back.  In fact, she was my best friend in elementary school. We had no idea while singing karaoke and staying up late at slumber parties the pain we would go through as adults. But we also had no idea how God would use our brokenness for His glory. I've been amazed at Kathy's heart for Jesus, passion for her family, and vigor for empowering other women.

Photo by Brooke Collier Photography

Recently, she sent me this message. As I sat weeping at my computer over her pain and loss, her sweet baby, and the goodness of a savior who will make all things new, I knew it needed to be shared. And Kathy, in her immense courage, is allowing me to share her story publicly for the first time in her own words...

I feel God pulling at my heart stings to tell the truth about abortion. I want to reach those who feel they have no other choice than their "right to choose."

You are one of a few people that I have shared this story with. God is calling me to share it with more but I am nervous and scared. The truth is I have been carrying around a deep dark secret. Carrying it on my back, and dealing with it all alone because of what the consequences are if people were to hear the truth. The truth is I no longer care what others think.The truth is I know there are others out there like me, suffering alone when they don’t have to. The truth is…God is calling me to speak out. 

The truth is when I was 19 years old I got pregnant. Upon telling my parents; they decided that I would get married. We began to plan a very quick wedding. The boy I was dating at the time turned out to be abusive. He was from an abusive home and had his father had brutally beaten his first wife in front of her two sons. The first time this boy threw me to the ground while I was pregnant I knew there was NO WAY I was going to allow this cycle to repeat. I broke off the engagement and began looking into adoption. I was only 19 and I knew I wasn't ready to be a mom. When I told him I wanted to make an adoption plan, that I knew that was the best choice for us and the baby, he became very angry. Threatening, yelling, and screaming, he told me no one would EVER take the mother of his child or his child away from him. He wouldn't allow it - that we WOULD be together. I became scared. Fear set in like I can’t even begin to explain. I realized that I could be a victim of abuse or I could save myself and my unborn child and choose to make this all disappear. I told him I had a miscarriage (which is what I told everyone else too).

Walking into Planned Parenthood the smell of depression and hopelessness lay thick in the room. Yes, I could actually smell it. None of the women looked thankful that they had the “choice” to be there. They all looked empty.  Broken.  I felt it too. I had always said I would NEVER have an abortion. I was wrong. In my mind I believed it was the only “choice” I had at the time to protect myself and my unborn child from a life of fear and abuse. My name was called and I headed in the back. I was scared and alone.

I hear people talking about the right to “choose.” I wish like HELL I didn't have the right to choose that day. I wish there had been counseling. I wish there had been adoption agencies out there trying to reach the youth. I wish THOSE things were easy access; NOT Planned Parenthood. I wish more than anything, ANYTHING, I could have taken away MY right to choose and allow my baby to have their right to choose life. I wish there was support out there for girls like me. And maybe there was...but Planned Parenthood was easy to find. Abortion is easy. Walk in, walk out.  Done. Pregnant. Not Pregnant. Simple. Except…it’s NOT that simple. They forget to tell you about the rest of the story. 

The truth is they don’t tell you about the memory you live with for the rest of your life. For awhile I was able to forget. I had to suppress the memory in order to survive MY right to live. But slowly the memory began to resurface. Back to the room...back to the smells...back to the empty eyes of broken women. Back to the face of the man that literally sucked life out of my body.  

Abortion is not about choice. It’s about selfishness. It’s about desperation. And I can say that because I have had one. I have walked a mile in those shoes...and it’s a mile that never ends. 

Recently a friend asked me if I had ever named my baby. Immediately I thought, “No, because that would make it real!” Then the “fetus” would become human. Become a baby. But I knew in that moment I needed to acknowledge that my baby is real. I needed to mourn the loss of my child. I realized how deep the pain still ran from my right to “choose.” I began to pray that God would give me a name. A few weeks ago while driving in the car I heard God speak to me: “Her name is Joy.” Tears streamed down my face. It was a girl! I had had a daughter.

Before that precious moment in the car, I randomly heard an audible whisper of mom. I will wake up in the middle of the night to mom and there is no one in the room. Washing my face I hear mom and look up…no one there. It has happened a number of times where I hear mom and there is no one around. Shortly after hearing “Her name is Joy,” I was washing my face in the bathroom and I heard the whisper again; mom. Then it hit me: it’s her! It’s Joy. This incredible RUSH came over me and I knew in that moment she was telling me It’s okay.  I forgive you. I am here with Jesus waiting for you. I love you. And it’s okay. Since that realization I haven’t heard the voice again. But God has placed on my heart to share this story because I know I am not alone. I KNOW I am not the only woman sitting at Church or in Bible Study carrying this same burden. It’s the ONE thing that Christians don’t talk about other than to point a finger at someone and telling them its murder. I am not sure what God’s plan is for me with sharing this story. But I know that SOMEONE needs to hear it. So I am sharing it. 

If you have gone through the agony of abortion, you are not alone. And it’s OKAY to talk about it. We can’t heal unless we help each other carry our burdens. I have finally carried that baggage to the foot of the cross and left it there. I have been forgiven. Not only has God forgiven me but he has blessed me far beyond measure with four more beautiful children. And he’s placed it in my heart to help fight for moms and babies.  

For anyone out there that has suffered in silence, that has carried this burden on their back ashamed of the choice they made, please know you are NOT alone.    

This is why I’m so passionate about adoption. For me, it’s not just about the babies. It’s so much about the birth mamas (and fathers as well), who need to be loved on and cared for and know that they have a hope and a future as well as their babies. THIS is what real adoption ministry is all about.
The truth is if you are pro-LIFE you are also pro-CHILD and pro-WOMAN.  

I love you Kathy. You are one of my mama heroes. And I can't wait for you to introduce me to Joy when we get to God's kingdom and he makes all things new.  

For more post abortive resources, check out:
You can also email Kathy at and check out her ministry at Serenity Health and Wellness.

UPDATE:  Since this blog was posted several days ago, Kathy and I have been inundated with stories from other women also healing from the hurt of past abortions. In response, Kathy has created a website, Joy Has Wings, a place for post abortive women to find support and healing. There you can find more resources  for post abortive women and men and their families.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beyond Orphan Sunday

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday celebrating the cause of the fatherless.

A time to remember global orphan care
A time to celebrate adoption
A time to honor foster care
A time for the least of these

God did not leave us as orphans and has called us to partner with him to "defend the cause of the fatherless." (Isaiah 1:17)

But adoption goes past holding back tears from a touching video.

Caring for the fatherless is more than dropping in a few extra bills in the offering plate once a year.

Changing the life of a child takes more than that.  Adoption takes real steps, real risks, and real investment.

If you've considered domestic infant adoption, check out our services at Christian Adoption Consultants.

This is Norah, a result of her parents taking the first step...

We are pleased to offer a discount this month to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month. We will be offering 10% off all full service consulting packages and 20% off all consulting packages for those open to our Minority Adoption Program. (This may not be combined with any other discounts.)

This discount applies to all applications received by the end of this month. 

For an information packet, please email me at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Yoga Pants and Jesus

I have this mini-obsession with yoga pants. I wear them most times I'm in the house and would definitely wear them most places out of the house IF they looked better on me (and were socially acceptable anywhere other than Walmart). I must confess that if you're on a professional call with me, I'm most often in yoga pants and a pony tail at my dining room table. (This is only one of the reasons why I have the best. job. ever.)

It's just that they're so dang comfortable. There's nothing like throwing on my yoga pants after a long day, grabbing a hot drink, and hunkering down on the couch with a blanket and a good book. My yoga pants are my prereq to settling in to an evening at home, a lazy Saturday morning, or watching a favorite show. There's something about my yoga pants that grants me contentment and coziness.

Wait. What? Yes: my yoga pants give me contentment. So much so that my comfort can easily become my idol.

I love to be cozy. I love to be comfortable and secure. I love knowing what to expect and what my day will hold. I thrive on knowing what's in my bank account and how to ensure things will go my way. 

BUT, I live in the real world where this doesn't always happen. On top of not being able to wear my yoga pants in public, I also can't ensure my comfort at all times (yoga pants or not). Harsh reality: Jesus doesn't care about my worldly comfort. He cares about bigger things.

Standing up for what I believe in.
Being attentive to God's plans for my day rather than my own.
Making time to read the Word and soak up real truth.
Following through on my promise to pray for a friend.
Taking the time to shepherd my children's hearts rather than give them instructions.
Listening to the Holy Spirit's direction.
Resting in the hope of an eternal kingdom.

These things don't feel luxurious or comfortable. Most of the time, they feel just the opposite. 

My ultimate comfort has to be found in Christ - the Comforter. Ease and convenience, although alluring, are not found in leading a life of surrender to Christ. True satisfaction and comfort come from giving up my comfortable life and living it for Him.  
And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."  (Luke 9:23-24)
Jesus cares way more about my heart than how I feel in my yoga pants.
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