Friday, January 30, 2015

What I Wish You Knew About Adoption and Infertility {Part 3}

We've spent the week engaging the conversation about adoption and infertility; the pain that comes with infertility and how others add to the pain. As an adoption consultant, I work with families every day that let me into their story; they share their loss and heartbreak. They share their struggle. And today they are sharing here about their choice to adopt.

Adoption is not something that everyone that is infertile is called by God to do. It is something you need to discern just like a fertile person would discern it.  - Lisa

Adoption doesn't cure infertility. It cures childlessness.  - Stacey

Despite what your doctors, close friends/family, and much of society will recommend, you don't NEED to pursue every treatment for infertility before turning to adoption. Adoption is not a 2nd choice or plan B. Your adopted child will be "your own.”  - Meagan

If you did seek infertility treatments prior to adoption, you really need to fully grieve the loss before committing yourself to adoption…adoption is NOT a plan b, but one can feel it is if they don't free themselves from the pain of infertility first.  - Carrie

I…wish people knew that when a family decides to pursue adoption, they have discussed it in great detail. They didn't think "let's just adopt" they prayed, they had long conversations and prayed some more. A family’s infertility will never go away just because they have chosen the path of adoption...the loss and hurt will always be there in some way.  - Amy

For me, adoption isn't about replacing my son (as some have been bold enough to say). It's about feeling such a depth of love that I had never felt before, such a passion, and knowing that love could be shared with another child. Our capacity to love was shown to me through our son. I knew my son would want for us to love another child, and that it was meant to be through adoption.  - Andrea

After our infertility struggles and miscarriages, we felt God leading us to adoption. We waited until we knew that we knew it was God and not us trying to "make" parenthood happen for us. We didn't really hear Him with clarity until He had helped us heal from our painful previous endeavors. Once we heard Him clearly, we had mourned the way we thought we would become parents, which helped us quickly see how adoption was NOT a Plan B but God's original plan for us all along!  - Debbie 

It's such a hard road - we were never able to get pregnant regardless of pills, shots, and trials...Painful to remember, yes- but one day it WILL NOT DEFINE US. We have been defined for almost 10 years as the poor [family] who can't get pregnant - little did we know we couldn't because our perfect family was not created from my uterus, and I am now a-okay with that!   - Kristin

With infertility, you may never lose the desire to wonder what being pregnant would be like even if you are mommy thru the miracle of adoption and that is perfectly normal. Also, it is ok if everyone in your life does not understand your decision to adopt, it is not their journey to make sense of, it is yours.   - Amanda

We did not have a long infertility battle, but it was intense. [After completing four IVF cycles] we did not know if we wanted to go through the financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual journey again. We decided to put it on God's shelf. He will either tug our hearts back to try again, or He will not. We put it all in His hands. We decided to concentrate on our adoption journey, knowing we were going to adopt no matter what. God gave us a very strong desire to have children, and we know He is not a cruel God. We know that He would not give us the desire if we were not going to be parents somehow. We know it is not how we become parents that matter, it is that we become parents. I don't guarantee that we will not try again at some point, but I know God has given us the strong tug in our hearts to adopt right now. I can't wait to see His plan for us.  - Heather

I wish I would have known that it was ok to take the time to grieve our story not turning out how I thought it would. I wish I had known that it's ok to feel the hurt of secondary infertility just as much as the first time. I felt so guilty for wanting another child when we already had our son. But a friend told me, "your family is incomplete whether it's by one child or two children, it's still incomplete.”  - Ashley

The heartache was so overwhelming in the middle of our IVF treatments and the final negative pregnancy test was one if the worst days of my life.... It all seems like such a distant memory and such a small part of my life since we brought our [daughter] home ! There are still a few times of sadness , but I am shocked how all consuming the sadness was and how quickly it vanished once we held our [daughter] for the first time.  - Becca

We would not have [our daughter] if we didn't have our infertility and our losses. If we had been pregnant either naturally or with IVF first, we likely would not have opened our hearts to adoption. So I would not exchange our infertility battles for the world because they brought me my most perfect first daughter. So in that vein, while difficult, those hard hard years were the best thing that ever happened to me and my husband.  - Carrie

My friend, Lily, summed up her thoughts on their infertility and adoption journey so perfectly.  Infertility is complicated. Often those on the outside want to reduce it down to a simple “just.” Just do IVF. Just relax and it will happen. Just adopt. It’s easy to miss that infertility is often a catalyst God uses to redirect and refine those going through it, but there is no “just” that will wrap everything up with a neat bow. It’s emotional, messy, and everyone’s story is unique. Not everyone struggling with infertility will do IVF or adopt. Some will do both. We loved the idea of adoption long before we dealt with infertility. But God used infertility to direct out path at the right time for us to adopt our son. Even with the diagnosis of infertility, we never tried IVF because the call on us to adopt became so great and so imperative. Praise God for the timeline he put us on! But we also received some judgement for the way we did things and why we hadn’t “explored every option” before adopting. Even from our fertility doctor. Now, as an adoptive momma, I can tell you that adoption is emotional, messy and everyone’s story will be different. But I also know firsthand the beauty of being part of something that God knit together, and knowing that our infertility was part of a bigger plan He had for us and our son. What was once something I asked God to remove from our lives, is now something I have thanked Him for many times. God’s ways are not our ways.

I can't think of a more beautiful way to talk about adoption and infertility. The beauty that God can make from brokenness when we see our story as a part of His.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I Wish You Knew About Adoption and Infertility {Part 2}

Earlier this week we started to talk about adoption and infertility, specifically the pain that comes with infertility. Families I work with have graciously allowed me to share their stories and thoughts on the important topic of how they've grown their family. 

Today, let's dive into how others add to the pain. Often, unknowingly, others trying to step into grief or offer an encouraging word actually do the opposite. People can make insensitive comments that can hurt rather than heal. If you're someone who struggles quietly with infertility, this might offer some solidarity with others who have been where you are. Or maybe you're on the other side, watching dear friends struggle. Let this open your eyes and open your heart to the real pain of infertility and the ability to walk with them through it.

Part of this series is to address the myths that many people have about adoption and infertility. Today, my families address many of them head on...

The thing that struck me most about our journey with infertility is how easily people belittle that painful journey. They say things like "Well now you don't have to deal with the bad parts of pregnancy" or "Just relax and it'll happen." Really?! How rude and painful to hear! No one can understand the deep deep wounds that infertility causes until you have gone through it. Unfortunately, when individuals belittle our journey to me it rips those wounds right back open. Just yesterday I was speaking with two women about children and grandchildren. One women looked at the other and said, "Well I mean your [grandchild] is actually a part of your DNA." She didn't even notice what she had said but it took my breath away for a moment. That someone would say that after looking at a picture of my beautiful daughter and make reference that she isn't actually mine burned my heart.  - Amanda

Telling a person who suffers from infertility to 'just adopt' is insensitive. Also, adoption is not something that everyone that is infertile is called by God to do. It is something you need to discern just like a fertile person would discern it.  - Lisa

After finding out we're adopting and saying, "oh now I bet you'll get pregnant because you won't be thinking about it" is insensitive. That implies infertility is someone's fault. We aren't choosing to adopt in hopes of getting pregnant.  - Tyler

Stop saying [our daughter] is lucky because we "saved" her... If anything she saved us! And the infertility is definitely a grieving process. It took me a long time (and I mean a long time) to be ready to let go. I am amazed every moment that God wove [adoption into] our path and I will be thrilled and in disbelief for as long as I live.  - Wendy

Just because we have chosen to adopt DOES NOT MEAN WE WILL GET PREGNANT. For the life of me, I cringe every time I hear this comment because it implies that adoption is a back-up plan and that pregnancy/childbirth is worthy of more celebration.  - Shelley

I know they mean well. They tell me it is about relaxing. After you adopt, you will be relaxed and not trying so hard. I heard this many, many times.  - Heather

My husband and I were pretty young when infertility turned our world upside down. We knew we always wanted to adopt (even before infertility) but it was disheartening that no one respected or took our wish to adopt very seriously till after seven years of infertility. All we ever heard was "you're so young, just relax it'll happen. There's no need to think about adoption yet." As if adoption was our back up plan and only acceptable after all fertility options had been exhausted. And yes, we've also been told too many times to count "I bet you'll get pregnant now!" It's so painful and belittling.  - Maria

Someone actually just said to me yesterday "I just know once you adopt you'll get pregnant.” It pains me to put a smile on my face and just say "hmm, maybe?" Because it's too exhausting to explain why the comment is hurtful. I hate that pregnancy still always seems like the "better" gift. Like I won't be content with adopting - and I'll need pregnancy to really make me feel like a parent. Ugh.  - Amy

Telling a person who suffers from infertility to 'just adopt' is insensitive.  - Lisa

I'll attest that pregnancy and childbirth do NOT make you a parent, despite what some people imply. The sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, midnight feedings, early morning snuggles, unconditional love...all of that makes you a parent. No pregnancy needed.  - Shelley

People do belittle our journeys and it's hard to not let their words cut us deeply. - Amy

As someone who is currently pregnant unexpectedly after adoption…everyone said it was because we "relaxed" and this happens "all the time" -- and it made me want to scream, as I knew exactly what our infertility issues were and how extremely unlikely this pregnancy was. However the people that "got it" call both our babies miracles and how God had his hand in forming our family this particular way. And to that I whole-heartedly agree. I always say His plan is incredible for everyone and it sure can catch you by surprise sometimes.  - Carrie 

Infertility hurts...badly. It changes you as a person (in good ways, but it's a very hard road). There are those who care enough to really "go" there with you and witness and support you through the pain and loss and it changes those people too... then there are those who flat out don't care enough to "go" there with you. Sometimes it's surprising who those people are and amazing how insensitive they can be...from telling you, "Okay, no big deal just do IVF..." without acknowledging the pain you are going through or the expense, stress, pain, and loss that's still possible with IVF... or (when we decided not to try IVF) "well, why wouldn't you try to have your own baby first?” to the ever popular, "I just know you'll get pregnant now that you've adopted…" We've even had a family member say to us, about our adopted son, "Well I guess he's good enough to be a [part of our family] and I guess we'll let him in the family pictures...." The ignorance and remarkably hurtful comments will always be there. But another thing infertility can do is knit a husband and wife together in such a way that you can stand together against others who try to tear you creates in you a maturity, love and devotion that enables you to rely on each other and on God; others that just don't/won't get it don't have to hold an essential part of our lives. In more ways than we ever thought, infertility completely reshaped our lives....and God has worked it for our good.  - Katie

Stick around. We'll chat about the choice to adopt later this week...

Monday, January 26, 2015

What I Wish You Knew About Adoption and Infertility {Part 1}

Today starts a three part series about adoption and infertility. Too often we address infertility or adoption singularly and not in a broader context of a family desiring to grow their family. Not every family who decides to adopt has suffered with infertility. In my experience, a little more than half of the families I work with have struggled with some form of infertility. I wanted to start a conversation about the topic and the response I received was overwhelming. Families who were eager to share their experiences, their grief, and even their hope. So much so, that I need a week to to cover it all.

Infertility is a heartbreaking part of so many couple's lives. I haven't met one woman who doesn't remember exactly where she was when she received the news of a devastating diagnosis, and often remembers the exact words her doctor spoke. 

I've asked some of my families to share their thoughts, their stories, and their hearts over the next few days about their journey through infertility and adoption. Here's their thoughts on the pain of infertility...

I so wish people had a better understanding of the loss you feel with infertility. It's a loss that both HUSBAND and WIFE need to grieve.  - Amy

There is hope for the grief/sadness caused by infertility to pass. I remember saying to a friend, somewhat in surprise, that I truly felt no sadness anymore about our infertility. I want nothing different than our son and his story. She wisely said, "God placed a hole in your heart the shape of [our son] and now it is filled." … I learned God can bring a lot of healing and peace through his plans.  - Meagan

Now that we have our daughter I am so glad God's plans were BETTER than what I had thought they would be. We always wanted to adopt (long before I knew about our infertility) but we needed to give ourselves the time to heal and process and move forward.  - Ashley

Going through infertility was like living life on slow motion. Every treatment and every month took 3 times longer than it should have. We were sad ALL the time. Now that we have our son, it's like life is on fast forward and going by WAY too fast. This is what happiness feels like!   - Jessica

Sometimes the journey feels so lonely!  - Rosie

We adopted our first daughter 4 and a half years ago and she is absolutely the apple of our eyes. Having said that, I would like to share that infertility is something that I don't think you ever 'get over' It is still a nagging ache in my heart…  - Denise

I often think to myself "what a great honor that God has chosen us to walk the path of adoption! I can't believe he finds us worthy to do such an amazing thing!" It's so humbling! But, I know that I will never fully heal from the loss of not being able to carry a child inside of me. I wish I too could feel all of the aspects of pregnancy. People do belittle our journeys and it's hard to not let their words cut us deeply.  - Amy

I'm totally content with our family and adoption was certainly not 'second best' for us. However, it doesn't mean that infertility doesn't still have it's moments of 'sting' or that I don't have the desire to know what's it's like to have someone kick my belly from the inside. It doesn't mean that I don't long to know what labor is like however painful it may be.  - Amanda

Infertility. The ever-present elephant in the room. Your family sees it, but doesn't quite know what to say. You see it and wonder if anyone feels your pain. God sees it. He allows it. He wrote it for my family. He wrote it after we had our first daughter. And let me tell you, even though we had a biological child and experienced pregnancy, I had some big words for Him… I was pouring out my heart to Him, mostly groanings deep within. He heard Hannah, right? Surely He'd hear me, too, right? I know He heard me. But His answer wasn't the one I wanted to hear, but the one that would forever reshape me… I am forever grateful that He works in ways that I never could have dreamed.  - Kate

I thought I would forever carry with me the void of never physically feeling a baby grow inside of my belly...but God miraculously healed that desire. He literally filled that void through our experience of feeling our love grow in our hearts for our boys from Ethiopia. Just as is also happening now for Baby Sis (domestic adoption). "You may not have grown in my belly, but you grew in my heart" is SO TRUE! That aching, dreaming, praying, anticipating still occurs whether that baby grows in your belly or your heart!  - Debbie

Come back later this week for more on how others add to the pain of infertility and the choice to adopt.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I've been a little quiet lately on the blog regarding the home front. Mostly because there has been a huge baby boom with Christian Adoption Consultants, but not because nothing's happening with with our tribe.

Namely, we're pretty good about breaking bones around here. Last week I got a call from school that there had been a collusion between some kids during PE and Isabelle had fallen and was having some wrist pain. We landed a few hours later at the children's hospital emergency department. Bella was thrilled about this since she got to see Daddy at work (I would much prefer a preplanned lunch date if you ask me...)

After an inconclusive x-ray and a splint, we were sent home, with a follow up appointment with a pediatric orthopedic specialist today. The concern is that she has a broken hand or wrist, but the kind of fracture she likely has isn't apparent for over two weeks after the injury. So, we have another follow up for x-rays that will hopefully tell us exactly what's going on and if we're looking at more casting or surgery in the future. For now, Isabelle is thrilled with her tie-dyed cast her friends get to sign.

So, after all of this, we have now racked up four broken bones between the kids (Jackson:2, Isabelle: 2). And if you include me, five. Everything from monkey bar fiascosskating parties gone bad, and playground mishaps.

Actually, if you think of it, say a prayer for me as well. I broke my heel last August on a run. After seeing two specialists and undergoing pretty intensive physical therapy, things aren't looking great. After being immobile and in a boot for so long, I have literally lost the connections in my brain to walk correctly (apparently that's a thing). If you see me around, I'm walking. But not heel to toe and not without pain. There is talk of "long term disability" and never being able to run again. We're praying for divine wisdom for next steps and God's miraculous intervention and healing if you want to join us.

I'm also praying for less exciting blog updates around here. Or at least ones that don't involve medical intervention.

P.S. Do you think they offer punch cards at Children's Mercy?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Adoption Story: Kevin and Lindsey

Sometimes, God's timing is so staggering it's astounding. I know I shouldn't be surprised anymore at the way he works, but I still get blown away often.  

Kevin and Lindsey's story is one that can only be explained by God's miraculous intervention and timing.

Although they had been on their adoption journey for awhile, they started with Christian Adoption Consultants on a Monday. That same day a little boy was born who needed a forever family. The next Monday, Kevin and Lindsey were contacted about him. And within weeks he was placed with them.

A little guy needed a family. And in the same moments he was being born God was orchestrating all of the movements of the couple that would be his parents.

Kevin and Lindsey's story is a good reminder that God's timing is always perfect. The wait is always worth it. And even when it looks like nothing is happening, God is always at work.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Adoption Story: Matt and JJ

Matt and JJ knew they always wanted a house full of children. With large and loving extended families, they wanted to create a home where their own children were loved, nourished, and pursued. After having two biological children and adopting a third, they knew that their home still had room for more. So early this year, Matt and JJ started their journey towards adopting number 4. 

They started with Christian Adoption Consultants in January and began their home study. In June they were approved and just weeks later, heard about an expectant mother who was looking to make an adoption plan. A brave woman who was searching for just the right family to raise her daughter.

It turns out, Matt, JJ, and their three children were the perfect fit.

This beautiful girl was born in the fall.

She was pursued long before she was born.

And I'm confident Matt, JJ, and her doting older siblings will love this sweet girl in a home where she is nourished and cherished all her days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Adoption Story: Michael and Katie

Michael and Katie have a love story that started years ago. They actually met in church when they were just ten years old. They were good friends from the start, began dating in high school, and fell in love in college. Michael was drawn to Katie’s caring and loving spirit and Katie admired his loyalty and sense of humor and their friendship built a strong foundation for what was to come.

They dreamed of having children but they didn’t anticipate running into obstacles. In December of 2013 they were told they would not be able to have biological children. When faced with the question of how to grow their family, they prayed over what would be best.  They shared, “We waited and prayed about our decision. Over time adoption became the only option that we were really excited about and at peace with. We wanted to wait to move forward with anything until we were sure in our hearts that adoption wasn’t the second best option; that it was the best option.”

Their family was completely on board as well. With two sets of parents eager to become grandparents for the first time, their entire family was thrilled with the prospect of Michael and Katie adopting.

They started their journey with the help of Christian Adoption Consultants at the end of May. I helped them dive into completing their home study and created a profile for prospective birth families. The same day they got word that their home study was complete I sent them information on a possible situation: an expectant mother looking for an adoptive family, due just before Christmas. To be exact: two years to the day they learned they received news that they would never have a biological child. It all seemed to happen so quickly but it wasn’t long before Michael and Katie said they would love to be considered.

Within days they heard the news that they had been chosen. But the whirlwind didn’t stop there. The day before Thanksgiving, Katie got the text that their expectant mother’s water broke. They spent their Thanksgiving this year snuggling their son. Less than five months after they started the process to adopt.

Michael and Katie started out the year contemplating adoption; wondering if it was the best path to grow their family. Just after Memorial Day they decided to start, anticipating 2015 would possibly be the year they would become parents. And then God surprised them with his beautiful, perfect, and best plan of their son joining their family on Thanksgiving, much sooner than they even dreamed. 

Katie says, “It really is true that when you are finally holding your child, everything you went through to get to that point will have been totally worth it.”

God took what began as what many would call a “second best” and made it an overwhelming beautiful best for this family.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Adoption Story: John and Claudia

This winter has already been a busy one; so much so that I still have families to congratulate from before the holidays!

John and Claudia were eager to adopt. They have a beautiful son and knew that adoption was the way to continue to grow their family. They have a happy home and a lot of love to give and were excited about the addition of a little one.

They started with Christian Adoption Consultants in March. Months went by and no situation seemed like the best fit for their family; the timing wasn’t right, the circumstances weren’t right, or for some reason or other it wasn’t a match. 

During these times of waiting, it’s easy for discouragement to set in. Did God really call us to adoption? Is this really the best way to grow our family? Do we need to go another route? What if this never happens for us?

But God is always faithful to families he has called to adopt. I have yet to work with a family where God’s timing wasn’t perfect and He wasn’t faithful to bring His plans to completion.

In October John and Claudia heard about brave birth parents looking for an adoptive family for their son. Something stirred in Claudia’s heart and they decided to be presented to the couple. Days later I had the chance to call Claudia and tell her God’s timing was perfect; they had been chosen to be a little boy’s parents.

This sweet little guy joined their family (and a very proud big brother) just a few weeks later.

Adoption can be full of wondering and waiting. But God’s timing is perfect. His plans are better. And the way he creates families is always beautiful.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Adoption Story: Brian and Karen

This is a story I’ve been waiting to tell for a long time!

Brian and Karen’s story is actually full of waiting.

Brain and Karen always knew God would make them parents, they just didn’t realize his plan for accomplishing this would be different than what they originally thought. They had both wanted for children as long as they could remember. But the wait to become parents was unexpected and hard. After watching friends adopt with my help, they started with Christian Adoption Consultants just before the new year last year. 

This is where God surprised them: their home study was completed in March and just two months later, they were matched with an expectant mama, due just a few weeks later.

They knew, as soon as this little bundle was placed in their arms, that she was their daughter. This sweet girl was meant to make them a family of three and the answer to years of prayers.

But the wait continued as legal issues were worked out. It was during these months that Brian and Karen never wavered in trusting God’s plan for their family, trusting this girl was always meant to be their daughter, and trusting that the waiting would be worth it. I loved watching as they were staunch in their faith and their hope that God would be faithful to his promise to their family.

And last month, Brian and Karen stood before a judge and were declared forever and always the parents of their daughter.

In the end, all the heartache, all the prayers, all the waiting; all worth it.

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