Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Their Own Words: An Adoptive Family Chronicles Their Journey

I've been excited to share Brad and Corinne's story for awhile. I began working with Brad and Corrine when they started with Christian Adoption Consultants early last year. In August they were home study ready and just six weeks later they were matched with a beautiful expectant mama. They became parents when their son arrived in February. 

It was a gift walking with them on their journey. From the beginning they were filled with joy, hope, and faith. They were also honest when things were hard and unanticipated and rocky. As I prayed about how to share their story, Corinne graciously offered the updates they wrote to me and dear family and friends in the last leg of journey to share here. It's lengthy but so worth sharing. These were emails outlining the logistics, details, and hearts of a mother and father on the road to meet their son. You'll hear their prayers in the weeks leading up to their son's birth. You'll see clearly their love for his birth mama. And you'll get a glimpse of the amazing way God cared for them...

*Please note when Brad and Corinne note "our mom" here they are referring to the expectant mother they were matched with (now their son's birth mother).

January 25th 

Hi All, 

Greetings from the NoVA igloo. As many of you know, we are getting close to our birth mother's due date. She's officially due Feb. 19, but we got word last week that at least one doctor wants to induce her a week earlier. We are trying to get everything lined up, but as you can imagine there is just so much out of our control. We appreciate your prayers.

If you could pray with us that God's will be done and that if possible, this would be the baby he wants us to parent, we would greatly appreciate it. Also pray for our birth mom that she would be confident in her decision, that she would feel family support for her decision, and that she would know God's love for her through us. And please pray for the logistics of our trip and for our sanity. We love you guys and appreciate you. 

Brad & Corinne

January 28th

Hi friends,

Thanks to you all for the kind words in response to our last update earlier this week. We really appreciate your support. Yesterday our birth mom had an appointment with her regular doctor, and the social worker called us with the update. The doctor thinks our mom will actually have the baby next week or the following week. We had asked our social worker to ask our birth mom if our birth mom would like us to come into town a little before the baby comes so that she can spend some time with us, and she would like that. So as of right now we are preparing to fly out to Vegas next Wednesday. Our birth mom has another doctor's appointment Tuesday, and they will give us an update Tuesday afternoon as to whether they think next week is the week. We are booked on flights with Southwest, so we can change them without penalty if we need. And I think we have details worked out on places to stay while there. It's been cool to see all these details come together. We can definitely see God's hand.

That being said, it's still going to be a nerve-racking time, and we covet your prayers. It's such a confusing thing to be wishing for a mom to give up the child she's carried for 9+ months, and it's hard to process. We want to parent this baby, but we also feel for the mom. Anyway, we know that God is in control and that his plan is good. We appreciate all your support and are excited for all of you to meet baby boy, should it be God's will that he comes home with us. 

Brad & Corinne

January 31st

Hello Friends from LAS VEGAS!

It has been a whirlwind 24 hours for us. Last night we got word that our birth mom had been sick all day throwing up and in a ton of pain, so they took her to the hospital  to see what was going on. She was having contractions 3-4 minutes apart but only was 1 cm dilated. So they gave her some anti-nausea medication and sent her home. We felt super conflicted in knowing what to do, do we just fly out first thing in the morning? What if we are in Vegas for a month? After praying about it we decided to ask our birth mom if it would make her feel better if we flew out tomorrow morning and she said yes, so at 11pm last night we booked out tickets finished packing and flew out this morning are now are in Vegas. We do know that she wants time with us before the birth so we thought it would probably be best to make the effort to get time with her, even if that means baby boy doesn’t make his arrival this week.  We have been talking with our birth mom since we have gotten here and she is no longer having contractions and is feeling a bit better. So we are waiting. She has to move tomorrow so we are planning to help her move in the morning. If our Mom doesn’t go by Tuesday we would most likely go to her doctor's appointment with her Tuesday morning and will hopefully have more information.  

Brad and I both feel like zombies at this point, it is all just a lot. We are emotionally spent already, and things have yet to really get started. So much of this entire thing we feel so completely in the dark which has been really tough. But when we are weak He is strong, so we are clinging to that. Here are some bullet points for prayer requests:

  1. Supernatural wisdom to know how to love and support our birth mama during this emotional time for all of us, especially since our mom is so quiet and reserved really tough to get a read on her. 
  2. That Baby Boy is born this week, a quick and safe delivery and labor for our birth mom and baby boy. 
  3. For confidence and support for our birth mom to go through with her intention in trusting us to adopt her baby.
  4. Patience and endurance in the waiting.

My mom gave us very wise advice last week and reminded us that God has asked us to walk this path and that is all we need to know. He has the details, He knows what is best. We just have to continue to put one foot in front of the other. 

As we were getting on the plane this morning the flight attendance asked where the baby was (we were checking out carseat) and I told her, “we are going to go pick our baby up.” (insert ugly cry) The past 24 hours have seriously the most out of body experience I have ever had. In all the uncertainty and anxiousness the Lord has been really kind in giving us moments like this to remind us that He is doing this, He is orchestrating our family. It has been SUPER humbling being loved so well by you all in the midst of all this crazy. Truly friends, you have most certainly been Jesus to us in such profound ways. Each of you have played a significant role in our journey over the past 4 years and we can’t help but see each of your faces as we think about all that God has done to get us here. 

And hey, becoming parents is SO STINKING EMOTIONAL!! So next time I see you I might just cry the whole time, but is that new? I mean I’m having crazy thoughts like, “our birth mom is probably just not going to have her baby.” Poor Brad, I am loosing my mind.

I realize this is a bit scattered. My sister sent us this verse this morning “It is the Lord who goes before you, He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8. I am reading this over and over and over again. 

Love you all! Thank you for praying!

Corinne & Brad

February 1st

Hello Dear Friends,

What a difference a day makes. We are taking advantage of the time difference and “sleeping in” aka waking up at 5:30/6am PST 8:30/9 EST which has been a huge blessing. We were able to have a nice quiet morning, and as I was reading my Bible this morning the Lord reminded me to take my eyes off of myself, our circumstances and the unknowns of the next couple weeks and fix my gaze on Him. He is the one who holds the details and holds what is best. He is kind. He is good. He is always loving.

We had a really great day! We spent 6 hours moving Our Mama out of her apartment. She had our picture in her bathroom which was really sweet. It was really humbling to see where she lived and how they live. She seemed really comfortable with us which was encouraging.  She invited us to her doctor appointments tomorrow morning so we are looking forward to that. Thank you so much for praying for us, today has certainly been a new day. "His mercies are new every morning.”

After today Brad and I both feel at peace and are grateful that we flew out early, God is certainly in the details. 

Love you all!

Corinne & Brad

February 3rd

Hello Friends,

Sorry I am just writing this now; Brad and I went to dinner after a full day yesterday, and I went straight to sleep when we got back. We want to first thank you for praying over our day yesterday; we absolutely are feeling every prayer and encouragement being sent our way. Yesterday was another full day with our Mama. We went to three doctors appointments with her. First was the High Risk Doctor. They said that the baby looked great but that our Mama had low fluid levels. They want her to come back for another check up Friday. If the fluid level is any lower, they want to schedule an induction. Again, they said the baby looked great and that she could have the baby at any time because she is considered full term. We then we to her regular doctor but were seen instead by another doctor in the practice, which was unfortunate. The case worker, me, and her daughter went into this appointment, and this other doctor was incredibly rude. He spoke somewhat disrespectfully and unprofessionally to her and the rest of us. He wanted to know what our “situation was," and when we told him, he responded very poorly which broke my heart for her. He basically said she should be on bed rest and needs drink a ton of water to try to increase her fluids. She asked if she could be induced now, and he said no. He said she is dilated at 1-2 cm, and the baby is still high. It's tough being told different things by different doctors. I think she is pretty determined to have this baby soon, so I doubt she is going to try to be on bedrest, mostly because she has a 16 month old who is in to everything. I wouldn’t doubt if she is out walking in her neighborhood a lot. 

After the second appointment we went to lunch with the case worker and the girls, which was really nice, and then we took our Mom and her daughter to her daughter's one year pediatrician appointment. I went in with the girls and it was a sweet time just chatting with our Mom. I held her daughter for her 6 shots and blood sample, SO SAD!  I’m going to be a mess when we have to do that for our boy. We then went to the house she is now living, and she showed us the dog who has become a good buddy of hers. She also told us about this awesome place in Fremont, which is the old Vegas, that sells fried Oreos, so we may to take her to get some today. I am seriously excited:) We also got a recordable book of “Goodnight Moon” we are planning on giving her today for her to record herself reading. That way baby boy can hear his Tummy Mama read to him.

The Lord continues to expand our hearts more and more for her. She is truly COMPLETELY on her own. It feels a lot like she is in survival mode each moment. It's tough because it seems that she has raised herself while her family is local and not really helping at all. Sometimes we wish we could adopt her and her daughter too. The Lord is really blessing our time here. It can be emotionally exhausting but we are finding it to be an honor to enter into her story.

Our friend Tara sent us this song this week and it has become my prayer for our time here. 

Sorry for the novel of an update, big day yesterday! Thank you again for praying for us.

Corinne & Brad

February 7th
Happy Sunday Friends,

We can’t believe a week ago we were on a plan on our way here, time is going quickly. Even though it has been an emotionally draining week we have been able to rest. We know Jesus is carrying us each day and using your prayers to do so. Thank you. We met a couple locals since we have been here and one of them told us of a restaurant called The Pasta Shop in town, the main cook used to cook pasta for Frank Sinatra so we decided to have a date there Friday evening which was lovely and DELICIOUS. After a busy week we decided to give our Mama a break from being with us all day every day and we took a road trip to Utah to Zion National Park. It was unbelievable there. I can’t imagine how stunning it is when everything is in bloom. We have been lucky with warmer weather this past weekend which I have loved:) We hiked and explored for a bit and then came back to town to grab the girls to walk the mall and have dinner. This mall had a ton of shoe stores ( Brad was so happy) so we had a night of shoe browsing. There was a kids play area in the mall so we sat and watched our Moms little one play for a bit. I have been asking the Lord to give me opportunities to encourage our Mom and last night I was able to tell her while we were watching her daughter play that her little one is a sweet kid and that she is doing a great job. She smiled and said she is a handful. Her little one is a sassy little girl (which I kind of love). Our Mom really has no men in her life,  it has been sweet to see her begin to feel comfortable chatting with Brad. When we first met her she never even made eye contact with Brad and now they chat with ease and even joke around with each other.  It is amazing to see how far the Lord has brought us from when we first met in November.  Our Moms grandmother is in town today so she is going to watch the Superbowl at her Moms house so we have the day off. I’m sure we will find a fun place to watch the game and relax. This week is full of doctors appointments and hopefully baby boys arrival. 

Thank you for praying for us. Pray for our sweet Mom that the Lord would send people who live here who love Him to love her well after we have gone. It is still tough to know how she is doing emotionally with all of this, I can’t imagine how painful the next few weeks and months will be for her. She doesn’t really seem to have anyone who she talks openly to. Pray that the Lord would comfort her in this season and show us how to sensitively come alongside her in this. Our Mom’s birthday is on Tuesday so we are hoping to do something fun with her for that. Pray that whatever we do would be seen as loving and honoring to her.

A couple years ago when we were in the thick of infertility I came across this song called, “We Dance” by Steffany Gretzinger.  After hearing this song I felt it was written for me. Over the past few years this song has been a reminder to me that He sees us, He hasn’t abandoned us, He is here. He has walked each step we have and will step to bring us our son, He already knows how the pieces will fit. In fact He has made the journey that has been full of tears and heartache into something beautiful. So as you can imagine this song has been on repeat all week.  

Ashleigh reminded me of this verse this week, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

Pray that no matter what the next days hold that our eyes would be fixed on Jesus. He is constant no matter how deep the waters we will be walking in will be. 

Corinne & Brad

February 9th

Hello Friends,

Our Mom had an appointment with the High Risk Doctor today to check her fluid levels, they are back down to a 7 so they suggested her asking her normal doctor on Wednesday (that is her next appointment) what they plan on doing about induction since her fluid levels are lower. So hopefully by Wednesday we will have more info about how dilated she is and what the plan is going forward. Brad and I are most likely not seeing our Mom today since she has family in town but we know we will be taking her to her doctor's appointment on Wednesday. 

For someone who is a planner and probably an over communicator it has been stretching for me to learn how to graciously navigate our Mom who is the complete opposite of myself. The Lord is showing me how much I really do need Him to love our Mama well. Jesus is a master at this, He enters our story, looks in our eyes and still chooses to love no matter how much of a mess we are. I so desire to have this same attitude and heart. So I covet your prayers that the Lord would fill me with tremendous grace and patience in the waiting. I want the position of my heart to be that of service and love towards our Mama and not frustration that she is not handling or communicating in a way I would. What a humbling process this is. 

Other than that not a ton going on here. Our days are filled with working, praying our faces off, catching up on Downton Abbey (well that is mostly me), resting, and working out (you probably won’t recognize us when we get home we are so buff now…not ha!) I told Brad he would probably look like Ray Lewis by the end of this #dreamsdocometrue. 

We love you and are so grateful for walking this out with us!

Corinne & Brad

February 11th

Hello Friends!

We had another full and busy day on Wednesday with our Mom and her daughter. Her birthday was Tuesday and poor thing everyone forgot her birthday so we made yesterday her Birthday day! If you know anything about our family birthdays are a big deal usual full of confetti (but since she lives with her friends aunt we thought maybe not confetti since its literally the gift that keeps giving…aka it can never full be cleaned up, so we decided against that). So we picked her up for her appointment with cupcakes and a birthday rap (another family tradition if you have been fortunate to be blessed with one of our raps, you are welcome ha!). We were able to see her normal doctor yesterday and he was WONDERFUL! So as of right now our Mama is dialated at a 3 and schedules for an induction at 6am this Monday the 15th! We are bringing her to an appointment this morning high risk and if her fluids are low today they will possibly induce her tomorrow. Either way she is super excited to get this show on the road and so are we. After her appointment we went and got manicures for her birthday and then went down to Freemont (Old Vegas) to do some walking. They actually have dance DJs all along Freemont and Our Mom, little one, and myself had a little dance party, SO FUN!  We are all really enjoying spending time together and laughing a lot. She really feels like part of our family. A little hiccup in this is the caseworker who has been working with Taylor and us will be out of town on Monday which Our Mom is away of but a fill in case worker will be there and we have on idea what that dynamic will be like. We know the Lord is in control and has the details worked out. So pray that the Lord would provide a caseworker who Our Mom feels comfortable with who is full of compassion. We are moving where we are staying today and talking out Mom to her appointment so sorry this is super brief. Thank you so much for praying for us! I have to go pack!

Corinne & Brad

February 12th 

Happy Weekend Friends,

We have moved to an Airbnb condo across town yesterday, to a lovely spot. We have a little outdoor patio and a playground right outside of our condo.The lady who owns this condo shared with us yesterday that she has adopted all 3 of her children and what a blessing it has been. It seems everywhere we go in Vegas the Lord is surrounded us with people who have had personal experience with adoption or a has a sweet spot for it. The lady checking me out at Whole Foods a couple nights ago asked me if I still had family in Virginia and I told her we live there and she asked why and I told her, she proceeded to come around to me kiss me on the cheek give me a hug with tears in her eyes and tell me how excited she is for us and that this is the best thing she has ever been told while working here. She asked if we would bring the baby in when we get him and then went to the other clerks and told them I was adopting. Our waiter a couple of nights ago was adopted and shared her experience with us, another lady we met shared her infertility struggle of loosing 5 babies and the joys of finally holding your baby. Even though we are so far from our amazing family and community whom we miss terribly, the Lord is surrounding us with support everywhere we turn, it is really amazing. 

My sweet friend Tracy sent me note yesterday to see how we were doing, after chatting with her for a bit she sent this:

 "Praying for your heart and tenacity in this wait. Vegas for me was like my own agony in the garden before Our Lord's death and resurrection. "Not my will, but yours be done."  Remember that suffering always precedes the glory of His triumph over death. Unite this time to Jesus on the cross. He carried Vegas like a cross for us and He is for you too. Your resurrection day awaits you very soon!  He is faithful. Ours awaits us too - just a little further off than we can see right now.”

I have read her words over many times already, what a brave soul she is. What an encouragement that Jesus doesn’t let go even when circumstances are different that we had hoped. It has been a beautiful reminder especially with Easter around the corner, that suffering is not purposeless but rather a reminder that Jesus has conquered death. Our season of waiting has purpose and the end result being greater life. 

We had another full day yesterday, took our sweet Mom to her last High Risk Appointment and her fluids were back down to a 6.3 so it is really great that she is delivering on Monday. Please pray for the caseworker we will be working with on Monday at the hospital since our normal caseworker won’t be in town until that evening. Once the baby is born is when things get tricky.  After her appointment we checked in to our new place, grabbed lunch with the girls, ran a few errands and got our walk on. There is a big outdoor outlet here in town and I got to try out one of our baby carriers with our Moms little one, getting practice anywhere I can. It has been HOT here, it was almost 80 yesterday and I definitely did not pack for warm weather but hey sweating is good right? Today we are going to grab the girls later this afternoon so we can get some work in this morning and go walk somewhere. Tomorrow we were thinking of having a little Valentines day with the girls, cooking dinner for them at our place and watching the new Grease (our Mom told us it is her favorite movie) and relaxing here. It's obvious the girls have not been loved well and so we pray in our time with them they would feel seen, loved, and accepted. 

My dear friend Susan sent me this old Hymn last week and the words have so resonated with me. It seems the Lord is sending me reminders all over the place of His greatness and His power, He doesn’t grow weary of carrying our burdens even if I am weary, we aren’t “too much” for Him. In all seasons He is enough. His grace can never run out. 

“He Giveth More Grace”
by Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy
To multiplied trials He multiplies His peace

When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision
Our God ever yearns His resources to share
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power no boundary known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

We love each of you so much!
Corinne & Brad

February 14th

Happy Valentines Day Dear ones!

We can’t believe less than 24 hours from now we will be at the hospital awaiting the arrival of hopefully our son; talk about surreal. 4 years of praying, waiting, and dreaming about this moment and it is so close. So as you can imagine we are feeling all the various emotions that go along with that.  So it seems very fitting our possible last day before becoming parents lands on Valentines Day.  We had a nice day yesterday having the girls at our condo, we played on the playground for a bit, had dinner, and watched a movie. Our Mom is getting super uncomfortable which makes sense as she is in the final stretch. So today we plan on running  errands, going on one last date before baby boy, and dropping off flowers and Valentines for our birth mom and her daughter and letting her get some rest before tomorrow. Although the past 2 weeks have been exhausting really in every way we are so grateful that we came early. Our Mom is like a different girl with us from when we first came, it is totally God’s grace  that we have had this time. I can’t imagine walking into a hospital room with her tomorrow with out the time we have had. We will be taking our Mom to the Hospital tomorrow morning, she is going to be induced at 6am PST.  We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and support each of you have offered to us in this season, especially the past 2 weeks. It has been the most humbling  weeks of our lives. Thank you for loving us so well. 

It is humbling to think of the many many times I doubted God’s faithfulness in this dream of having a family when it seemed His answer was “not now” for so long. Of course there are still many unknowns and uncertainties but God has made His faithfulness so clear to us. Our circumstances may be difficult and unstable but God’s Faithfulness and Kindness towards us doesn’t change. My friend Ruth sent me an excerpt from “Streams in the Dessert” this morning. It was a sweet reminder to me that  all of these details and what will happen over the next week are all God’s doing, not mine. He is the great orchestrator of our lives, He is in every detail, always wooing us with His love. He can even use weary and challenging seasons to do this. It is when I convince myself it is up to me that things seem to unravel and doubt and uncertainty leak in. 

Things to pray for:
  1. Kind and compassionate nurses to work with our Mom. This can go either way, some nurses are cold hearted in scenarios like this and other nurses can be incredible, this dynamic can obviously make a huge difference in what the next week looks like.
  2. Peace and comfort for our Mom, We can’t imagine how emotionally difficult the next week especially will be for her.
  3. Quick and safe delivery, she was induced at 37 weeks with her daughter and it took 3 days for her to have the baby, we know she is more dilated this time around but we are praying this goes quickly for her. 
  4. Wisdom for me especially as I will be the only other person in the room with our Mom, That I would know how to best love and support our Mom through this entire process and advocate for her since she is not one to speak up.
  5. I’m nervous about having to see our Mom grieve as she gives us the baby, For wisdom know how to navigate that. What a mixed emotion.
  6. Flexibility. As many of you know hospital plans don’t always go as planned, in fact they rarely do, so pray that we would not be discouraged by hiccups along the way.
  7. Peace in the wait. It is easy to begin to get fearful as we are getting closer to baby boy making his arrival.  Our mom will sign at 72 hours and I can only imagine those 72 hours will feel like the longest 72 hours of our lives
  8. Health and safety of baby boy in the delivery. 
  9. Our Mom has a possible job lined up - we are praying this works out for her.

This summer I remember reading another excerpt from “Streams in the Dessert” (sounds like I need to just go a buy this book) that I think perfectly paints what the Lords has been doing in our family, 

“… In the darkest night He is composing your song, in the valley He is tuning your voice. In the storm clouds He is deepening your range. The rain showers He is sweetening your melodies. In the cold He is giving your notes expression. And as you pass at times from hope to fear, He is perfecting the message of your lyrics…”

He truly has been writing the most beautiful song for our family. Thank you for being apart of it.


Corinne & Brad

Tomorrow I can't wait to share the rest of the story (now found here!); Corinne and Brad continue to write their story and tell of their brave birth mother's labor and delivery, their first moments with their son, and the day they announce that he's theirs to their family and friends. Check back - you don't want to miss how God showed up.

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