Monday, May 8, 2023

When The Journey To Adoption is Hard

When I got the first phone call from Hailen and Adam about adoption it was a pleasure to hear their excitement and passion.  I didn't know then what was in store for their adoption journey, and all the really hard twists and turns they would have in the process.  This was going to be a story that was made sweeter through some very hard circumstances.  Thankful I had the privilege of seeing their dreams come true.  Here is their story......

Adam and I have wanted to grow our family for years now. Over a year ago, we began our adoption journey. I always knew I wanted to adopt growing up, and we have discussed adopting since we first started dating, but were trying to decide on the route we would take and when. Once we started the process, we began with talking to as many people as we could that had adopted successfully and began reaching out to consultants, attorneys, and agencies. After all of our “research”, we signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants and completed our first home study in October of 2021. 

At the beginning, I was so eager to get started with the process and presenting to birth moms. Dawn Wright was amazing at answering all of our questions and explaining the different “options” we had with the multi-agency approach, and we began signing on with agencies, which started the beginning of our waiting.

The next several months were filled with several “no’s” and “not yets.” No one can truly prepare you for the wait and the different stages of the wait. The wait to see a situation. The wait while you pray about and decide to present or not, and the wait to hear the birth parent’s answer. During the season and cycle of waiting, there would be times we were positive and knew God was shaping us through the process, and then there were times we felt like it would never be our turn. 

In July, we finally matched with a birth mama due the first week of August with a baby girl. We spent the month getting final touches ready and talking with the mama. We traveled to South Carolina on August 2nd to meet her for dinner. The next morning, her baby girl was born. After a few days in South Carolina, on August 5th, she changed her mind on her adoption plan and decided to parent. This trip was filled with more emotions than I knew possible to experience in such a short time, so we packed up, and headed home with our empty car seat to our empty nursery. 

This was a tough pill to swallow. You know that it is a possibility once you’re matched, but you hope it won’t ever be you. After lots of tears and phone calls with our consultant Dawn and the agency we matched with, we continued on. Because I am a teacher, it was a very tough start to the year meeting your students, telling them you will be out on maternity leave, and then coming back a week later and saying “nevermind.” I did not know how I would explain this to my middle schoolers to understand when I didn’t understand it fully myself. 

In addition, we had to begin renewing our home study because it expired at the beginning of October. This was a point I never thought I would be at, but here we were. We were continuing to present to situations and continuing to hear “no’s.” The last week of September we got the call that a birth mom wanted to talk to us and another family to make her decision. On September 30th, we got the call that she chose us and was being induced the next morning. 

We frantically packed and booked flights to Dallas. On October 1st, at 1 pm, her baby girl was born. This trip and experience was much different than the first time, and we were so excited because everything began to fall into place so “perfectly.” It seemed that we could see God in each step with perfect timing. Signing with the birth mom was scheduled at 1 pm on October 2nd. Unfortunately, at about 12:30, we got the surprising call that she had changed her mind and decided to parent. The flood of emotions and hopelessness that we felt in that moment is unlike anything I had experienced. We packed up, canceled the reservations, booked flights, and carried our empty car seat back through the airport to go home. 

On the flight home, I prayed and cried the entire way. Throughout the adoption process, we lived by “Thy Will Be Done.” It was on our fundraising tshirts, and we collectively listened to that song more times than we could count, but at this point we were so confused and not understanding what His will would be for us. We were trying to make sense of “why” and determine what we should do from here. We decided that we would present to every situation that we saw and leave it in God’s hands. On a day that we received another devastating “no,” the agency called that they had the perfect birth mama for us. We immediately said yes and very shortly after found out she wanted to talk with us on the phone. 

After this phone call, she chose us, and we found out she was due that week, but did not know the gender of the baby. That weekend, I was also in one of my best friend’s weddings, so I spent the week notifying work of the potential possibility (again) of needing maternity leave, packed our bags, and traveled to the wedding. The morning of the wedding (as I was getting ready), we got the call that Mama O was in labor and we needed to get there immediately. She had also chosen me as her support person to be in the delivery. 

We managed to grab the last flight that night and headed to Delaware and arrived at 2 am. We headed to the hospital first thing. Throughout all of the traveling and rush, I tried to maintain my expectations and not get too excited. The time in the hospital with her went better than I could have dreamed. We got to talk and spend time together, and I got to be a part of the most beautiful experience of my life watching our baby GIRL come into the world. We had previously matched with two baby girls in the past, and did not know the gender of this baby. Adam says that it is because God clearly wanted us to be girl parents and had our perfect girl chosen for us. 

Right after she was born, we were rushed into another room for my husband to join us to watch her measurements and hold her for the first time. After that, we were unfortunately moved to the NICU because of this hospital's adoption policy. Adam and I had to take turns being with her because they only allowed one visitor at a time, but I will forever be grateful for her choosing us and allowing me to be a part of every little detail as our baby girl entered the world. 

The signing was the next day at 1 pm. That 24 hours seemed like an eternity (especially the hours I was at the hotel when Adam was visiting with our girl). At 12:54, we got the text that the signing had been moved back. This was the worst thing I could have heard. My mind went to the worst case scenario, and I started fearing that we would go home empty handed again. 

Thankfully at 2pm we met with Mama O, the agency, and a notary, and at 3:01 she officially became OURS forever! When we decided to adopt, I tried to educate myself on all the possibilities. My biggest fear was a failed adoption, and we had TWO. Looking back now, I would not change a single thing. Everyone always says in “God’s perfect timing,” which can be very difficult to hear at times, but I know now that his timing was so perfect. This is our perfect girl. Every detail was better than I could have dreamed (minus not being able to be together in the hospital due to policy). Every no, not yet, and heart breaking trip home lead us to her. Despite the crazy road to getting our girl, I can see God in all of the little details and would not change a thing. 

If you have any questions about adoption:

Did you know we launched an all new Embryo Adoption Program as well?
Feel free to contact me about this amazing new program!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

40 Years Ago Today....

Today is my 48th Birthday!

40 years ago today I was with my family camping in Minnesota during my birthday week.  We went mini golfing and laughed.  Went to church and Sunday School.  I had no idea what was about to happen no idea that my innocent fun filled life was about to change dramatically.  

That next day I would feel the urgency to use the bathroom and it persisted.  My parents took me to a nearby ER and they thought I had a urinary tract infection.  When they tested they found no infection.  So they did more tests and found out I had cancer.  Cancer that they thought was benign, but discovered later was indeed malignant and had burst outside itself.  Cancer that itself weighed 5lbs in my little girl body.


I had no idea the seriousness of it all.  My dad had lost his only sibling - sister to cancer when she was only 21 and I was a baby.  No idea that my parents knew the seriousness of the situation.  No idea the recovery time from surgery ahead and the months and months of radiation treatments that would make me sick everyday.  

No idea the hundreds of miles our 4 hour round trips to Iowa City for treatments would be coming.  No idea the other children I would meet who I would also see pass away in the hospital.  No idea the hundreds of hours I would spend waiting on doctors while my mom would help me with homework or be reading the Bible.  No idea the hundreds of people who were all praying for me, family, friends, strangers.


No idea what caused this kind of cancer that typically only affects women over 40.  No idea that I would have a hysterectomy and all of my internal organs affected by the effort to get rid of ever cancer cell.  No idea that I may not live.  No idea......... 

No idea that God caused the cancer to roll onto my bladder which caused us to go to the hospital- MIRACLE.

No idea that God had planted doctors to do this massive surgery that was, at best, a guess as to what to do- MIRACLE. 

No idea that we would be able to run into so many people during the surgery and radiation treatments that we could witness to- MIRACLE.

No idea that God would allow my grandparents to take turns staying with my brothers so my dad could work and my mom could come with me all those weeks of radiation- MIRACLE.

No idea that God would use my testimony to touch so many in my life- MIRACLE.

No idea that God would bring me a husband and we would still have 9 beautiful children- MIRACLE. 

No idea that even today 40 years later I would be able to share my God story of how he used me, healed me, and restored me to who I am today- MIRACLE.

There really aren't words to describe the difference between 40 years ago today and one day later when I found out that I had cancer.  I was already saved and knew the Lord as my personal savior.  In those years of being healed miraculously by Jesus He gave me a gift most others do not have.  He gave me the gift of perseverance, a deep faith that I can't describe, and a love for Jesus that goes far beyond and keeps growing.  MIRACLE. 

My grandma was right- I am a walking MIRACLE.  


Friday, June 4, 2021

You Are The Most Beautiful Sunflower

 Stephanie & Derek’s Adoption Story:

“We first thought about adoption in 2010 when our first biological daughter was 2. While talking about growing our family, my husband said, “We could look into adoption.” I replied that was something I was open to. We ended up having our second daughter two years later.

For years we had that desire to adopt, but just never felt called to act on it. One night in 2017, I had a dream that I went to the hospital having pain that felt like labor but not looking pregnant. The doctor came in and said, “You are having a baby, congratulations, it’s a boy.” I yelled out, “I didn’t know I was pregnant!” He handed me a baby boy and I woke up. The pain felt so real, so did holding the baby. I remember looking around the room to see if there was a bassinet and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that dream started watering the seed of adoption that had been planted in my heart years ago when he first brought up adoption. I had that same recurring dream for the next 3 years.

In February 2020, I mentioned to my husband I was really feeling that calling. He agreed and we started researching adoption. I decided to start interviewing consultants for domestic adoption. I had my first phone call with an agency on the day of the pandemic shut-down. I had very little knowledge of adoption. I was really looking for someone to educate me and help me navigate what would be the best for our family.

I’ll never forget the first time I spoke to Dawn at Christian Adoption Consultants. She asked me what led us to adoption. I told her the story about how a year earlier while on a cruise I felt like God was letting me know after years of having the desire, that it was time. She did something that confirmed to us that CAC was the right choice for us: she almost immediately started educating me on ethical adoptions. I knew when I hung up that CAC was exactly what I was looking for and that Dawn was going to be in my corner. Throughout the process I would reach out to Dawn if I had a question. She always gave me her honest answer. In some ways I felt like she was my teacher.

Another part of great education Christian Adoption Consultants provides for their clients is adoption education by having them speak to a birth mother and an adoptee. I spoke to birth mom Lori. She taught me so much in our short phone call. I’ll never forget her teaching me about open adoption. At one point she said, “You and I could have the same flower from the same garden. Mine might die if I don’t take care of it or know how to care for it. Yours might be beautiful. A sunflower was not meant to be a rose. You cannot change it into another flower. Their DNA is there, it cannot be changed. This is nature. But nurture them and they will bloom into who they are meant to be.” That stuck with me because I understood it so deeply being a fellow plant lover.

One morning at 6:58 am, 3 days before the historic ice storm that hit Texas, we got the call that our birth mother was in labor 6 weeks early. Due to Covid restrictions, it took two days for us to finally see him. After the most emotional “hello” of my life with his birth mother, it was time to finally see him. I’ll never forget scanning the NICU room for him and seeing him for the first time. When they placed him in my arms, it felt like God himself handed him to me. He looked at me eyes wide open. It was as if our hearts knew they belonged together. After a few minutes, I thought about what Lori said to me that day. I looked down at him and said, “You are the most beautiful sunflower I have ever seen.””

If you want to know more: 813-360-7368

I would love to share how Christian Adoption Consultants can help you on your journey!

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!