Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Treasure Box

 So it started off with my precious treasure box that I got quit a while ago.  I have filled it with the only treasure in this world that will not fade- scriptures.  Scriptures that I wanted to study, memorize, read over and over to encourage me.  


Then it hit me- why not encourage our children with the same thing!  So for Christmas this past year I decided to make a treasure box for each of them.


I created lists of past memories- some movies we have loved watching over the years, where we have gone on vacations, talents for each child that I see, truths from scripture about God and who they are, and scriptures with their names in them.  



I would say this is one of my favorite ideas God has given me.  I want to keep adding through the years on different holidays, birthdays, or random days.  When it comes to encouraging our children it is the best feeling.  To share with them the Good News!  To point them back to God maybe on their worst days when they feel alone.

This world can be harsh, there are seasons that sometimes feel like they go on forever, but the truth is that God is working- even when we don't see it.  So start today.  Notecards and a pen are all you need to start.  I pray you are encouraged! 




Monday, February 1, 2021

"Anything Is A Blessing That Makes Us Pray" - Nick & Kama's Adoption Story Of Faith

This post's title, "Anything is a blessing that makes us pray", is a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon, the influential English preacher from the 1800s. Nick and Kama have been touched and challenged by his words over the years. This particular quote reminded them that the heartaches of this life give us an opportunity to press in to God's presence. Their adoption journey prior to, and since working with me at Christian Adoption Consultants was hard, but as Kama says, "I must tell you; this was the most painful process that I have ever been through, even more painful than childbirth. But, wow, was it worth it!" The end result was the blessing of their precious baby girl, along with the blessing of knowing God's heart in such a deep way.

Adoption was on Kama’s heart since she was a child. When she and Nick dated, they both had a heart for adoption. After getting married and having two sons, they discovered that they were not able to have any more biological children. They continued praying about adoption. Plans for adopting were paused as they were meeting the needs of their boys but knew God would lead them to adoption in His time. Three years later they considered moving forward with adoption, but the prospect of expenses involved caused them to stop once again and wait while trusting for God’s financial provision. They continued to pray as a family – praying for their future daughter, sister, and her birth mother. Another three years later is where their adoption journey continues. Kama shares their story from this point:


“Three years later we couldn’t resist our call to adoption. Our hearts ached for this child. One night, our oldest son, looked at us at the dinner table and said, “Why aren’t we going through with the process of adoption? We all want this child and pray for them and we know God will provide so why don’t we just do it?” The faith of a child. He was right, we needed to just take the steps and trust the Lord. So, we decided to start with fostering. We signed up with fostering to adopt in November 2019 and got all our paperwork done in three weeks and we were approved in December 2019. After more and more praying, we decided to stay with fostering but to also try to adopt and see what the Lord did. In February 2020 we started our home study process for adoption, and we were home study approved and working with Dawn at Christian Adoption Consultants in March 2020. Well… as you know March was the month where everything was shut down due to COVID.


In May, we were finally matched with a birth mother who was due in six weeks with a baby girl. That situation ended with us driving to the hospital with us thinking we were going to meet our daughter only to have the birth mom stop communicating with the agency. We waited, we called all the hospitals in the area, the case worker called and even went to her house, yet no one knew what happened. Our hearts were shattered to say the least. We waited two long days in another state to see if she would show up or call, but nothing. We went home to try to heal… only to have her call three days later. She told us that the baby was sick and in the hospital. We told her that we didn’t care, we would love the child no matter what. When the case worker called the hospital, they found out the baby was discharged, was healthy, and in her care. The birth mom finally texted us just to let us know that was not going to follow through with the adoption plan. We were heartbroken all over again. We didn’t understand. Why God would you lead us down this road to only have us lose all this money and to break our hearts and get our hopes up? We cried out to the Lord. We knew that our Lord was Sovereign, and we knew that even this was part of His plan, but we didn’t understand. So, we cried, but we lifted our hands up to the Lord and sang as well. We started this journey to bring Him glory… and if it meant that we would suffer, even then we would praise His name.

After our failed adoption we decided to apply with a couple more agencies and keep applying to situations. We applied and applied and applied. We got a no after a no. After every no, I would overanalyze and think “what is wrong with us? Why aren’t we being chosen?” During this time, God brought me to a point of realization that even during this time of “wait”, he was working. Charles Spurgeon said, “Anything is a blessing that makes us pray.” So, I kept reminding myself and my children, that through this time of uncertainty and unknown, it was a blessing, because God was keeping us on our knees and trusting Him. After months of hearing no after no, God finally opened my eyes to make me realize that every no was a blessing, because that was not my child. God was working even when I could not see it. As a family we finally started praising God for this journey and tried our best to “enjoy” it even through the pain.


On December 6, 2020, I was making dinner and checked my phone after setting the table. I saw a “Stork Drop” come across my email from an adoption agency. At first, I panicked because I thought we were too late to apply. I quickly looked the situation over, and I showed my husband the situation. He began to cry. The situation was for a little girl who was born on December 5, the same day his sister was born forty-two years ago. His sister was his best friend and passed away when she was 18 from epilepsy. He looked at the situation and said, “Apply, this is our little girl”. I quickly applied and then we sat down and just started crying over this precious child. We prayed together over her and for God to protect her. This little girl had a tough beginning and was in the NICU and our hearts cried out to the Lord for her protection. For the first time, we didn’t pray for the birth mom to “choose us”, but we prayed that the Lord would bring the right family for this child and would save this precious girl and let her grow up to know Him. About two hours later, I received a call from our adoption agency, and they told me that this was an ‘agency pick’ adoption and that we were chosen as her family. We got our little girl!


We got on a plane the next day and went and met our precious gift from God. She is a constant reminder that God is always working out all things for our good. A couple days later, when the agency met with the birth mom, they showed her our profile book. A couple months before the birth, the birth mom was going to choose a family and she told the case worker she decided upon three families from the website and not only were we one of the three families she considered, but we were the #1 family she wanted for her daughter. Oh, how great is our God that he worked out all things.


We spent the next ten days loving our daughter in the NICU and watching her grow stronger every day. Our Lord is the Lord of miracles. Through all the “nos”, through our failed adoption, through all the waiting… God was always faithful, always good, and in control of all things. What a great God we serve. We give Him all the glory and praise His name. So, if I can offer any advice…. Have faith in our great God.


When I began the adoption process, I believed I was strong in my faith and walk in God, but this process brought me to a place of crying out to the Lord and trusting in His sovereignty more than I ever thought possible. I was reminded daily how the Lord has the whole world in His hand and has ordained all things. During our journey, I was reminded of the quote by Charles Spurgeon, “You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: he who counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting his own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature he ever made, or the only saint he ever loved.”"
As with Nick and Kama, one of the biggest honors for me as an adoption consultant is being able to provide support to families during the journey, with all the struggles they face - praying with them on the phone, or sending encouraging texts. It would be my privilege to talk with you today about your own adoption journey. Feel free to reach me anytime at:


(813) 360-7368

dawn@christianadoptionconsultants.com


Blessings,

Dawn


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Can We Be Thankful In All Circumstances?

All Americans are thinking about Thanksgiving in some way, shape or form right now. As I type many are already traveling or preparing to travel. Turkeys are defrosting in fridges about to hit the oven, and people have already been going to purposely buy jelly beans this week ready to much them with popcorn during their annual tradition of watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" with the fam.

We're all "Thanksgiving saturated right now", but how many of us truly, myself included were actually going to spend some honest time being thankful, and on top of that taking time to thank God himself for all His blessings? If it's "just about the turkey" we're surely missing it.

Maybe we can be thankful this week, after all we're having some yummy dishes and hanging with family, but what about the other times in our lives when the Bible says, "Give thanks in all circumstances..."

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
-1 Thessalonians 5:18


I've honestly struggled with that, because there's been too many times to count that I have not felt very thrilled about life and my circumstances. I haven't honestly felt very thankful. If I'm honest I've lived plenty like I'm cursed, not blessed!

I think of these verses too:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4: 6-7

So, that is easier said than done! We were introduced through our church to the little book, "Joyful Journey". This book said, "When we give thanks, gratitude becomes the vehicle through which we become aware of the presence of Immanuel, the God who is always with us. Gratitude  in the middle of difficulties allows us to have [the recognition that God is present, is truly good and perseveres in doing good for us].


I pretty much understand it like this: when I come to God with thankfulness I take the focal point off me for a change, and regardless of what is going on around me I see and hear Him. I am reminded that He is with me in every second of my life. God's character can only be good. His love is pure and unfailing. Immanuel is with me in all circumstances. I can be thankful for His presence. Therefore, I can be thankful in all circumstances because He is with me, and the God who is with me is persevering in doing good for me.

When pain or struggles occur, the enemy speaks lies to us, wanting us to take our eyes off of Jesus towards our situation, and we lose sight of "God with us" [Immanuel]. Even in those tough moments we have the ability through Holy Spirit to turn our eyes back towards Jesus, and thank him in it because he has never, and never will leave us or forsake us.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
-Deuteronomy 31:6

Happy Thanks Giving!

Blessings,
Jason

Monday, March 18, 2019

Lemons From Lemonade - Brandon & Kathryn's Adoption Story

It has been an honor of ours to be adoption consultants for Brandon and Kathryn, and to see their family grow by the blessing of adoption. I (Dawn) had the privilege of also being able to present for the adoption finalization hearing here in Florida! What a blessing and honor to be invited - this is the 'icing on the cake' in my job. Kathryn shares their adoption story so beautifully, along with equally beautiful photographs that capture such beauty and love.

Emma, two weeks old. Photo by Marci Worlton Photography

"Someone once explained to me that when life gives you lemonade you should make lemons. How odd I thought. How backwards. How impossible. But you see...making lemons from lemonade means taking all the broken pieces and making them whole again. Something only God himself can do. We believe that God has brought lemons from lemonade in our adoption story – he has taken broken hearts and made them whole.

The “before” in our story is hard to write about...six miscarriages, fourteen foster placements that ended too soon in heartbreaking good-byes, failed adoptions through a broken foster system...we kept trusting God to grow our family but it was so hard to see hope dashed over and over.

Photo by Deanndra Xaynhachack of DMX Photography.

Last April (it sounds so funny to say that because it hasn’t even been a year yet!) we decided to step away from foster care and the devastation it brought our family, which was especially hard for our young son who was suffering deeply from the constant good-byes of foster siblings, and start on the path for private adoption.

By May we had our home study completed. And three short weeks later we received the life-changing call that a birthmother in Florida had chosen our family. Even more amazing, our baby girl was due in just three months’ time!

During our short wait to be matched we applied for more than a dozen situations. Each time, instead of praying “God let this expectant mother pick us!” my prayer was “God please don’t let us get picked if this match could fail. Please spare our family from more heartache and only let us be picked if it’s really going to happen!”

Adoption announcement. Photo by Kelly Petersen Photography.


In July I flew down to Florida to meet “N” – the birth mother carrying our daughter Emma. We enjoyed a girls’ spa day to relax and get to know one another. It was amazing how at ease we were and how quickly we connected. The spa staff didn’t believe us when we told them we had met that day; they assumed we were best friends with years of history given how freely we talked and laughed throughout our time with them. I had read that open adoption was ideal, but I think it took actually meeting Emma’s birth mother, and realizing what an incredible woman she is, to understand that she was truly going to be a part of our family as well. To this day we still message constantly. She’s a dear friend now and our daughter’s number one fan!

The highlight of that trip was getting to see my daughter on an ultrasound and hear her heartbeat for the first time. Her birth mother was so generous to allow me that. It felt so perfect. So real.

Summer flew by and at last it was time to head to Florida for the birth. I flew down the week before Emma was due. It was a good thing I got there a little early because less than 48 hours after my plane landed I was at the hospital with “N” preparing to welcome our daughter into the world!

While Emma’s birth story belongs more to her and “N” then it does to me, my little piece of it was waiting in a room all alone in the middle of the night after complications arose and an emergency C-section became necessary. I was so scared. Worried for Emma and her birthmother’s safety. Worried that going through such trauma would change “N”’s mind about being able to place her baby with us. Worried I wouldn’t get to see her right away because to the medical staff I wasn’t a relative so I had no rights....

But everything changed when a nurse came to get me. “Your daughter is here. Would you like to give her a bath and a bottle?” Her kindness was a gift from Heaven. She shared that she had a personal connection to adoption and promised me I could have these first moments with my little girl.

I know I am biased, but Emma was the most perfect baby I had ever seen. She was only a few hours old when I took this picture, so very in love with her already and excitedly texting my husband and son who flew in when labor started and arrived just a few hours after birth.

Emma at just a few hours old. Cell phone picture taken by Kathryn (mother).

We were smitten! We spent two days at the hospital, sharing a room with “N” and bonding as a new family. The boys visited during the day, and in the evenings “N” and I enjoyed the quiet to marvel over the perfect daughter we both get to love.

 Fresh 48 Hospital Session. Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.

Fresh 48 Hospital Session. Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.

Thankfully our time in Florida moved so quickly. Within two days our healthy little girl was discharged from the hospital and we were able to stay with my husband’s grandmother until we got our ICPC paperwork back – which only took one week! Over and over God provided for us and paved the way.

Emma came home to Iowa right before my birthday. It was the most precious, amazing birthday gift possible. Our family felt complete at last!

Emma, two weeks old. Photo by Marci Worlton Photography.

The last hurdle was waiting for finalization. There were some big hiccups along the way – including a man who registered himself as Emma’s birth father, even though he lived on the other side of the country and had never met Emma’s birth mother! - but over and over God provided and cleared the path for us to be her forever family.

At last the day came. We flew back to Florida with our four-month-old daughter so that we could go to court in person and share the big day with her birth mother. Our lawyer told us that in thirty years he had never seen a birthmother invited to a finalization hearing. But she is so much a part of our family now, I couldn’t imagine her not sharing the moment with us.

We all wore matching shirts. I made cheesy signs. We were joined by family members and Dawn, our amazing Christian Adoption Consultant who had guided us each step of our adoption journey.

Our Gotcha Day! Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.
Our Gotcha Day! Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.

It was a perfect day. The most special part, for me, was presenting our birth mother with a painting of a pregnant woman clutching a heart. To me, it symbolized how when she carried our daughter she carried our hearts, our love, our hopes...and when she gave us her baby girl she gave us a piece of her own heart as well. There was not a dry eye in the courtroom!

Painting by Katie M. Berggren. Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.

A second highlight was getting to meet Dawn, our CAC consultant! She drove out to be a part of our ceremony. After months of near daily correspondence, countless hours of prayer and encouragement, seeing her bright smile as she walked into the courthouse was like meeting a long-lost friend.

Dawn heading towards the courtroom. Photo by Kelly Haymes of Momma Got Soul Photography.

I’ll close with going back to the lemons. Emma’s birth mother craved lemonade throughout her pregnancy. We’ve made it a point to cherish that connection and send her lemon themed pictures of Emma frequently.

I’m thankful that Emma won’t grow up with her biological past a mystery. I’m thankful for the connection we have with her birth mother. I’m thankful my daughter is doubly blessed with two families that will love her and cherish her as she grows.

Most of all, I’m thankful God made lemons from our lemonade..."

Emma, three months old. Photo by Marci Worlton Photography.
Emma napping. Cell phone picture taken by Kathryn (mother).

I know that Kathryn's story has touched your heart, and I would love the privilege of talking with you about adoption and how I may also walk with you in your own adoption journey! Please feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Blessings,
Dawn

Friday, June 15, 2018

Those Three Words- A Book Review


This book is what I haven't been able to put down for the past week- Those Three Words written by Christine Bauer. As an adoptive mom I work hard to read, listen, and absorb any wisdom I can from birth families, relationships, feelings, the joy and the pain of the process of adoption. I want to widen my world and include the beautifully brave birth families, the children they place, and the adoptive families.

People ask me all the time how it feels for me and I am happy to share my experiences and how it feels to be an adoptive mom. So if I am able to learn more about one person's journey to placing her child for adoption I jumped at the chance to read this book!

It was completely honest and raw at times. It is definitely a book I recommend to anyone who wants a glimpse into the journey of a birth family. If you are a birth family, an adoptive family, or an adoptive child I believe this story can offer you a perspective, but more than that it can offer healing. It doesn't have to be the exact same story as ours because we are all so very different, but when you read someone's story there is a part of you involved and you can release and feel all the feelings through a different lens.

As a Christian Adoption Consultant it is always important to me to share resources with families that I think will help educate families and give them different perspectives on the adoption process. I am excited to share this with them and all of you as well.



More about Those Three Words:

Wise Ink Publishing announced today the upcoming publication of a new memoir. 'Those Three Words: A birthmother's story of choice, chance, and motherhood' by Christine Bauer will be released in May 2018 – for Mother’s Day.

There are three words that, when uttered together, make dreams come true for millions of women. For millions more, those same words can shatter their dreams. "You are pregnant."

Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States — some 3.1 million each year —are unintended. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned.

Author Christine Bauer’s memoir Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood takes a deep dive into the emotions of facing an unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of 18.

Those Three Words takes readers along on the journey of weighing options, agonizing over a decision, and ultimately deciding to let another family adopt and raise her baby. This story also looks at how placing a child for adoption affected the rest of her life, especially when she became the mother of two boys. Those Three Words touches on the controversial topics of abortion and adoption, birth control, and women’s rights.

This story will resonate with millions of readers because women know and understand the joy and pain of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, and the power of family and parental love.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Bauer deftly addresses one of the most wrenching and emotional decisions one might confront: how to respond to an unexpected pregnancy. With candor and grace she leads readers on a thought-provoking journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down." - Caryn M. Sullivan, Author of “Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page,” winner of the 2015 Midwest Book Award for Inspiration.

"As a young girl, I was proud to be adopted. I was chosen. Then, after giving birth to my first child, I paused and was overcome with grief. How could any loving woman give up a baby? Chrisy's book helped me understand the love, agony, and courage needed to be a birth mother, to do what's right for yourself, and for the helpless human you've brought into the world." - Lory Sutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Minnesota Historical Society

"On its surface, Christine Bauer's Those Three Words is an engrossing memoir detailing a young birthmother's hard path toward fulfillment and happiness. But even stronger currents race deeper down, about the difficulty of acceptance, the power of family, and the nature of love. Reading it is a moving and unforgettable experience." - Jack El-Hai, Author and past President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors

About the Author:

Christine (Chris) Bauer was born and raised in the big small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. She feels blessed to have grown up in a place and time when childhood was carefree, when kids left the house in morning and returned in the evening, and in between rode bikes, built forts, and played baseball and Barbies. While she loved her hometown, Chris was eager to move on to new adventures after graduating high school.

Chris attended Mankato State University in Minnesota, majoring in Mass Communications. Her dream was to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism. Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Chris has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember.

Her greatest achievement and most profound joy is being the mother of three kind-hearted children and one beautiful and spirited grandchild. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Chris is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled granddogs. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.

She resides in the Minneapolis area. While her nest is nearly empty now, she loves that the flock returns regularly for food and shelter. Those Three Words is her first book. It is currently available for pre-sale. To learn more, go to https://www.authorcbauer.com/

Readers can connect with Christine on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fasting- Part of my journey.

 When I first heard about fasting in our church last year like the above picture I thought:  Are you kidding me?  I mean actually give up food- why?  What does it really do and why would I do it?  So many questions and I just didn't think it was something that not only I would do, but something I needed so much more than I thought possible.
 See we often think that idols are huge like this massive B-53 Bomber that is now resting at Orlando Airport.  It is something that is in your life that is obvious.  How could I miss something so obvious in my life?  Then I remembered the scripture about the speck in your neighbor's eye and the plank in your own. 

Matthew 7:3-5   “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Remembering that God knows we are so good at seeing what is wrong with other people, and obviously so bad at knowing what is wrong in our own life.  
 Fasting is about taking our dreams and putting them into the perspective of God.  It is fine to go to Disney, but if we are so selfish in our hearts that we can not tithe or give then that is an idol that has to be removed.  It is ok to have dreams of what you want for yourself or others, but what about what God wants.

We have faced a trial in the last couple of years that has thrown our family in such a place that I became desperate.  Desperate to know God in a way like I have never known before.  Desperate to see Him through the muck and nasty of our situation.  Desperate to see how in the world could God still be working in and through us.  Desperate to touch the hem of God's clothes to receive healing.  Desperate.....for something different- God's focus for me.
So take off your masks of it will be too hard for you to do.  Of course it is hard, but what if it is worth it?  If you have never tried fasting this is my encouragement.  There is a great book by Jentzen Franklin called Fasting.  It is amazing at explaining why, how, and when. What I can tell you personally is that when we hand over our lives to Christ we receive Salvation, but when we fast we receive His direct hand on our lives.  It is so different that what I imagined.

Fasting is hard, and there will be times you will want to throw your hands up and throw in the towel.  You will say to yourself what is the point it isn't working.  One thing I learned as someone with a huge list of "needs" and a heart that was so very uncertain of how God would ever be able to do anything ever again in our lives that even resembled hope.  I can say and testify that God is able, and that isn't something that is just in scripture it is a real truth.

A song I found this last time my husband and I fasted (yes I have now fasted different times, different ways, and for different lengths of time over the past 6 months) from FB if you would believe it- is perfect for why we need to fast.

Clear The Stage by Jimmy Needham

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too Until the congregations few, then have
revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you're broken for your sins, you can't be social
Then seek the Lord & wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful
'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong
Oh, worship is more than a song
Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the Word and put to test the things you've heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken
'Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong
Oh, worship is more than a song
We must not worship something that's not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it
Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
And anything I can't stop thinking of is an idol
And anything that I give all my love is an idol
'Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song
Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take to crush the idols

.

.