Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fighting With Faith In Adoption

(Photo Credit: Life of Pix)

“Our dishwasher just went out."
“Out of nowhere we need all these crazy expensive car repairs!"
“Our kids are almost always healthy but for the last month we’ve been sick constantly."
“My family is having a really hard time understanding why we want to do this."
“It’s like one thing after another right now keeps happening to us right now."

Let me ask you this-have you recently become involved with adoption? If so, I’m not surprised you’re experiencing roadblocks!

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you."  (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Granted, the context of this verse is speaking specifically to the sufferings that come when you are insulted for your faith. But I do think it has connections with the sufferings that come through seeking to love vulnerable children for God’s glory as well. It’s not going to be easy. It won’t be without challenge or tears. The enemy of our souls is not jumping up and down with joy about children entering loving, Christian homes.

It is almost a given that when you follow God’s leading and begin to dig your heart and heels into the process of caring for children in need, you are going to face some opposition. Whether you are seeking to reflect His heart through supporting an adoptive family, pursuing adoption yourself, speaking out for life, doing Safe Families, or fostering, there will be push back. Are you ready to fight with faith?

Fighting with faith looks like holding tightly to God’s Word and letting Him have the final say in our lives. Fighting with faith looks like reaching out and letting your friends know you need their prayers. Fighting with faith looks like listening to God’s perspective and fixing our minds on that instead of dwelling on our circumstances or emotions. It means thinking about what is true. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Fighting with faith means you intentionally remind yourself of eternity, of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, of the fact that our God went to the greatest lengths imaginable to make us His children. "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

Loving like God loves can be hard. Don’t be surprised when things are challenging along the way in adoption. There will be difficulties but your Father is with you and will continue to be with you every step of the way. Be ready to fight with faith.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) 
Please contact me at for more information about domestic adoption. I'd love to be a part of helping you fight with faith in your adoption process. 

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Adoption Story: Obbie and Kelly's Twins

One snowy day last winter I talked to Kelly for the first time while my kids were outside sledding with their grandpa. Like only God can, He instantly connected my heart to this sweet couple as I prayed with Kelly. Right away, she felt like a long-time friend, not someone I'd just met who was considering Christian Adoption Consultants.

I will never get over the awe of what God has done in Obbie and Kelly's story. It's a story of infertility and miscarriage, cancer and healing, faith and strength, oh...and TWINS! But most of all, to me, it's a story of the grace and worth of God alone-the only One who enables someone to walk in valley and praise Him still.

Kelly was kind to share some of their adoption story with us. Grab some tissues and get ready to see God's hand of love!

I (Kelly) was born with a very rare form of childhood cancer. The doctors told my parents I had less than 10% chance to live. In His great power, God healed my body of the cancerous tumor. And when it returned 8 months later, He healed me again. Due to the treatments my body endured at such an early age (chemotherapy and surgery), we always knew that my fertility could be severely diminished. And this possibility became increasingly likely and eventually confirmed after I reached adulthood. In a sense, I believe the Lord, in His kindness, was preparing my heart for what was to unfold. 

After an emergency appendectomy at 15 years old, my surgeon informed me that the likelihood of bearing children was very slim. In that moment I remember thinking about adoption. Even then I can see how the Lord was growing my heart for something more beautiful than I could ever dream. God had a plan. It was HIS plan. And it was so much better than mine. Over the past 5 years my body has endured a mini-stroke, open-heart surgery and two more cancer surgeries. During these difficult times my fertility always came into question. Before and after every one of these surgeries adoption always came to my mind. And in even in the unknown, I felt a sense of peace from the Lord.  

Almost a year after my 4th cancer surgery, we both received surprisingly incredible news: I was pregnant! But tragedy seemed to strike as quickly as the news had come in. Only a few weeks after receiving the news that I was pregnant, I miscarried. We were devastated. Even in our pain, we could feel His presence. It was difficult to trust God in the darkness. It still is sometimes. But, even then, we trusted He had a plan. He had not brought us this far to leave us on our own. God was up to something. He was preparing us for something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. 

Shortly after the miscarriage, Obbie and I started praying about when the Lord would have us begin the adoption process. Then, God stepped in and provided clarity and confirmation through a variety of circumstances and conversations. We were reminded that earthly adoption is a beautiful depiction of the Gospel and the heart of our heavenly Father. You see, we were once orphans. We were once fatherless. But through Christ, we have been spiritually adopted and welcomed into the family of God. The Bible tells us that God is a “Father to the fatherless” and that “He sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:5-6). Although we could have gone down the fertility treatment route, we felt the Lord nudging us in a different direction.  

The pain, the tears, the suffering, the scars, the cancer, the unknowns-they have not been wasted. God has been refining us, growing us, humbling us, sanctifying us and preparing us all along. I can't get over how God good is. Sometimes I cry while I am holding my babies because God is just so faithful!

Oh my heart! I love this couple! And God continues to walk with them in the good and the hard. They started with CAC in February, were matched with an expectant mama due with twins in May, their beautiful babies were born in June, and then in August their house was destroyed in the devastating flood in Louisiana. And still they are praising their faithful Father, trusting Him for all that they need.

Obbie and Kelly, your lives testify to the faithfulness of God and of His beauty, worth, and grace. You've looked to Jesus in every trial and declared again and again that He is worthy of your lives. It's been an honor to walk alongside you in your adoption journey.

(Photo Credit: Emily Fuller. Lyrics by Fernando Ortega.)
For more information about Christian Adoption Consultants and domestic adoption, please contact me at

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fenska Adoption #2 And A Way You Can Help

(Photo Credit: Laura Birkey)
Thank you so much for the encouragement and excitement you’ve surrounded us with since we shared that we’re adopting! We feel the love and we’re so grateful! Here’s a quick run down on why we’re in the process again and how you can help.

The Why
Adopting again is something that’s been on our hearts for a while now. Even before we brought Titus home, we talked about adopting one more time. We love being parents, we love our kids, and we have more love to give! Each of our children have shaped our lives for the better and we’re excited to experience that joy again. Our hearts are also for expectant mamas walking through adoption; we want to be available as they make the hard choice about whether or not they will place their child for adoption. And underneath all that, we have a deep gratitude towards God for adopting us into His family and we believe loving through adoption is one way we can reflect His heart.

The How
How are we going to be ready for the steep $25-32K or more that our adoption will cost? (Yikes! I know! In case you're curious, that money goes to things like agency fees, lawyer fees, birth mom counseling and living expenses, etc.) For the past four years, we have worked hard to save and God’s been faithfully providing. But we’re still about 15K short. We’re committed to continue working and saving but we're also coming to you for help. We are praying for 10K before January. It’s hard and uncomfortable to ask for help, but we need it. Would you consider stopping by our page on AdoptTogether where you can be a part of our adoption by giving a tax deductible gift? Every gift, whatever the size, is so meaningful.

As you probably know, Titus’s adoption was a whirlwind and even when we were left scrambling for the funds, God was so faithful! We know that He will faithfully provide again. As we’ve talked about it and prayed about it, we really want to be more prepared ahead of time this go-around if possible. We’ve already said “no” to several adoption situations because we don’t have all the funds ready to go yet. But we trust that God’s timing for our family is perfect. Thank you so much for considering being a part of our adoption journey! We thank God for your prayers and support.

(Note: AdoptTogether will disperse funds directly to our adoption agency when we are matched with an expectant mama.)

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Our First Date and A Big Family Announcement

(Circa 2004. Oh my goodness...we look like babies!)
We officially became “more than friends” after our first date at Corner Bakery back in 2004. It was a high-stakes high-stress date (at least for me!) where we were getting together to talk about whether or not we'd start a relationship. I brought a slew of questions and went through them one by one with Josh. (He passed with flying colors, by the way!) As he drove me back home, I remember feeling excited and scared and really nervous. I liked him so much more than I imagined I could ever like anyone and I was pretty shocked that he actually liked me back (that’s a whole other story).

But instead of wanting to shout the news to the whole world, you know what I wanted? I wanted to hide it. Yep. It’s embarrassing but it’s true! I honestly did not want people to know. I seriously asked Josh if we could just keep it to ourselves and not tell people for a while. (He wasn’t about to roll with that. I’m pretty sure he thought I was nuts for even asking!) It wasn’t that I was ashamed of “us” or that I was worried it wouldn’t work out. It was that I was afraid of what other people would think. I was the “new girl” and he was the “church intern” and what if people didn’t think we were right together? Plus, it felt scary to share such an “unknown” with people...I didn't know how it was all going to turn out. And even more than that, getting to know Josh in a better way was a really big deal to my heart; I wasn’t sure where to start with talking about something that meant so much to me.

Announcing our second adoption feels a lot like that to me. I know God’s led us to this and I’m confident He’s got good in store. But I’m afraid, too. Just like our first adoption, we need financial help. What are people going to think about that? Plus, we have no clue what things are going to look like along the way…we don’t know how our story will unfold. And even beyond that, this is such a big deal to my heart, so much so that I’m not even sure where to start with talking about it. It's hard! But I want to try.

So friends, with a pounding heart I’m sharing our news. We're adopting again! (Whew! I said it!)

A couple of details: like last time, we're adopting domestically (an infant) and we aren’t matched with an expectant mom yet. Basically, that means that we have no clue when a baby will enter our family. It could be soon or it could be over a year from now or anywhere in between. At this point, we are working hard to be prepared financially; we’ve been saving for years, we’re home study ready, we’re working on applying for grants, and we're also humbly asking for help. We're also using this time to pray for the expectant mama who will be bringing this baby into the world, asking God to give her courage and strength. We don’t know exactly what Adoption #2 will look like, but we are excited to watch God bring it about.

Back to that night at Corner Bakery...later that week I went to a girls night with some friends from church. My heart was pounding and I thought I might puke, but I told my friends our news. There were squeals and hugs and long conversations but the thing I remember most is their love and how they gathered around me and took the time to pray for us. Because I told people about this huge scary exciting thing, people shared in our joy and that made our excitement even bigger. And because we shared about it, it was no longer just us praying about our future. We had an army form behind us, praying for us, supporting us, and walking alongside us...sort of like a team cheering us on. From the start, we were carried and helped so much by so many people (and we still are).

Would you join us with your prayers and support again? It would mean so much to us to have you walking alongside us, praying, encouraging, challenging, being a part of our team for adoption #2. I'm glad you're with us. Everything's better in community.

And for those who are interested in giving, we are thankful for the opportunity to use AdoptTogether once again as we humbly depend on the Lord for financial help. If you'd like to contribute to our adoption fund, you can go here to give a tax deductible gift. When we are matched, AdoptTogether will disperse funds directly to our adoption agency. Thank you for your love and support!

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Adoption Story: Randy and Rhonda

Randy and Rhonda were no strangers to adoption when they got in touch with me back in November. They had already adopted twice (once with the help of Christian Adoption Consultants). When Rhonda and I first talked on the phone, she shared that Randy was a little skeptical, wondering if they were "too old" to be chosen again by an expectant mom. I'm so glad that they went ahead and stepped out in faith. It didn't take long for them to find out that God was already working to bring their next child to them.

Just a month later after they got started with CAC again, they learned that one of their daughter's birth moms was pregnant again and wanted to place the baby with them. And about a month later, their daughter was in their arms! Isn't she just adorable?!

Photo Credits: Ally Summers

(Randy, I'm pretty sure that God must have been laughing when you wondered if you were "too old!") Your family is a beautiful reflection of God's heart of love for children.
For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Adoption Story: Zach and Nikki Opening Their Hearts to Openness

Congratulations, Christian Adoption Consultants family, Zach and Nikki, on the beautiful gift of your daughter! Watching this couple walk out their adoption journey with open hearts of love for their daughter's birth mom has been so encouraging. When I think about their adoption journey, the first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful relationship they have formed with their daughter's birth mom. Nikki shares:

"Our experience with Christian Adoption Consultants has been invaluable. Before signing with CAC, we had looked into all the different adoption avenues. We felt so overwhelmed by the lengthy and complicated adoption process and our ignorance about all of it. We had hundreds of questions, many of which we didn't even know we had at the time, and Google could only offer so many answers. We were hesitant with the cost of adoption to spend extra money on a consultant, but now I know we absolutely could not have done it without Katie and the help of CAC. Katie counseled us and held our hand through every step of the way. She connected us with agencies for our home study and agencies and attorneys who would connect us to an expectant mother. Without Katie, we would have had to apply to one or two agencies and been on a waiting list for years before even being presenting to an expectant mother. We were literally quoted 2 or more years by several local agencies. With Katie's help, our home study was finished in 3 months and we immediately began seeing expectant mothers' situations. We brought our daughter home just 9 months after signing with CAC. Without CAC, Katie, and the network of supporters she connected us with, we would still be sitting on a waiting list, probably feeling helpless and powerless, as we did before CAC."

"When we first started thinking about adoption, we wanted a closed adoption. We did not like the idea of an open adoption because we didn't think our child's birth mom should be involved in the raising of our child. We were nervous that our child would not see us as his or her parents, and we felt threatened by the involvement and relationship the birth mom would have with him or her. However, after much prayer and consideration, we decided we must go with an open adoption! The role that a birth mom has in an adopted child's life is invaluable. After reading several articles and watching a documentary all by adult adoptees, we knew that it would be best for our child to know his or her birth mom."

"In open adoption, an expectant mother chooses us to be the parents of her growing baby, and she has confidence in our abilities to love and care for that child. Choosing adoption is not easy, but expectant moms choose this option when they want the absolute best life for their child but know they cannot provide that. Knowing this, we can move forward with the confidence that we are our child's parents and that our child loves us dearly. A curiosity about his or her birth mom does not change that. Of course, appropriate boundaries should be set ahead of time, but having ongoing contact is so important for the mental and emotional well-being of a child. As children grow, they start to have many questions about identity. Ongoing contact with his or her birth mom fills this hole and answers these questions. I would absolutely recommend this, as it is vital for our hearts to know where we came from."

"Our experience with open adoption has been a more incredible experience than we could have ever imagined. Before our daughter's arrival, we formed such deep connections and relationships with her birth mom and family. During our initial meeting, we were able to meet her birth mom and both of her birth mom's parents. Our conversation seemed to flow so naturally, and we all connected immediately. We were all in tears over how grateful we were for each other. During the remainder of the pregnancy, we spoke with the birth mom at least once every 1-2 weeks and texted frequently. She sent us ultrasound pictures, and we were even invited to her home a few days before our daughter arrived for a dinner with her and her extended family. We were always so welcomed and felt like a part of a big family. All of these moments, texts, and conversations we treasure dearly not only because we love this family so much, but also we know how much our daughter will treasure these stories one day too when we share them with her. We are so thankful that our daughter's birth mom continues to keep in contact with us and that our child will never have to wonder who her birth mom was or where she came from. We'll be able to help answer her identity questions and help her to feel secure in knowing that her birth mother loved her deeply and made the most selfless and loving choice for her. We couldn't imagine a better situation for our daughter."

If you are worried or afraid about the idea of an open adoption, can I encourage you to go to God with that, pouring it all out before Him? Maybe it will not be what you end up experiencing, but it is worth praying and asking Him to guide you through your fears and questions. What Zach and Nikki shared about their experience is such a good illustration of the amazing gift that an on-going relationship with your child's birth parents can be.
For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guest Post: He Gives Good Gifts

I'm so grateful to my fellow CAC adoptive mama, Linnea, for her eagerness to share about the journey to her daughter, Sylvia...a journey with the unexpected news of Mosaic Down Syndrome. I sobbed when I read this the first time; I was freshly reminded that I am beautifully, wondrously made in God's image, and He loves me more deeply than I can imagine because I am His daughter. I think this is one of the most stirring and beautiful pieces ever posted on this blog and I am honored to share it with you!

(Guest post by Linnea)

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through the adoption process is how to give up control. When we first thought about adopting, I imagined a healthy young teenager who found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and needed to choose a good home for her child. A baby would need a home. We wanted a baby. Win – win. We understood that if we were willing to set aside any one of the qualifiers in the most demanded “healthy, white, infant” category, there were many babies that needed homes. So, we started our home study and our search for the infant daughter of any race that we felt God had saved space for in a hearts and home.

Part of the adoption process typically involves agencies asking parents to look through a grocery list of issues that could be in play in a potential adoption situation. We were to sit in our living room and put check marks by what we were ok with our baby dealing with. Blindness, mental illness, Down syndrome, alcohol exposure, cocaine, smoking, conception through rape, history of heart disease, brittle bone disease, asthma, cerebral palsy, cleft palate…. The list goes on and on. We believe all life is sacred, and every child should be wanted. Does that mean we need to be ok with all this stuff? What are we signing up for? What are we requiring of the children we already have? If I had a biological child who had some special needs, I wouldn’t worry about whether or not I should “take them on.” But, we need to be wise, right?

After wrestling with each concern, we determined that we were open to anything correctable (cleft palate, minor birth defects, etc.) and we would discuss drug/alcohol exposure on a case by case basis, but we would avoid situations with lifelong disabilities at play. We reasoned that we should allow margin for unforeseen needs to arise instead of maxing ourselves out at the start.

We presented to a lot of expectant mothers. The process of presenting involves having a profile book (basically a family scrap book) shown as one of 2-15 options for an expectant mother to consider for her adoption plan. We were not chosen many times. I stopped counting in the teens. If there were so many babies that needed homes, why did I feel like we were competing for babies? At that time, God impressed on me that being an option that doesn’t get chosen in an adoption plan is a ministry in and of itself. I tried to rest in that, but, let’s be honest. I hated the wait. I felt rejected. I wanted a baby.

After 6 months of presenting and not being chosen, we learned of a new situation. There was a family history with some risks and some difficult circumstances throughout the pregnancy. At the time, I was studying Gideon and how God had asked him to drastically reduce the size of his army so it would be clear who was winning the victory. At that time, I felt like God was telling me to reduce some of the control I felt I needed over the circumstances surrounding a potential adoption situation. I needed to reduce my armies and let God fight for our baby. So, we presented and were matched!

We travelled to Florida to meet our expectant mother and get a peek at the baby through an ultrasound. It was a surreal and amazing experience. We were so excited! We came home and got everything ready. We chose a name.

Then, we got a call saying that our expectant mother had had a blood test which showed a very high possibility that the baby had Down syndrome. We could back out of the match with no penalty. We had not checked the box for Down syndrome.

But, we weren’t sitting in our living room with a grocery list of issues now. She wasn’t a hypothetical. I had her ultrasound picture in my Bible. She had a name. No. We were committed. She was already loved and so very wanted. I had been preparing for almost a year to breastfeed her. I sent this e-mail to our close family:

I'm not sure how all you are processing the possibility of a special needs grandchild/niece/nephew. But, I'm so grateful for your support through this process. And, I know she's got an army of people waiting to love on her. It's not long now.

Whatever her needs are, I just. want. her. Will having a special needs child be hard? Without a doubt. But, I'll know her and have her and they'll just be her needs, not a catalog of potential needs that I read on the internet. We'll study her and love her and figure out what she needs and use all our resources to help her. And, we'll get her - in our arms, at my breast. 
At the end of the day, we've got to trust God. We've asked him to bless us with another child 
Luke 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 
If she has Downs, we are not legally bound to adopt her. We could bail and get our money back. But we won't. I feel like God has impressed on me that doing that would be rejecting a huge blessing that He has for us. 
Do I feel a bit overwhelmed at times? yes. Inadequate? yes. Afraid? yes. But, it turns out that God's strength is made perfect in weakness. So, I get to anticipate His mighty work in our family, in me, in my other kids.
We trust him for His good gifts. We can't wait. 12 more days....

When Sylvia was born, she was perfect – just beautiful. She didn’t seem to have the classic physical markers for Down syndrome – no single crease in her hands, no extra skin at the nape of her neck, no wide space between her big toe and the others… But, wait. Her tiny pinky bent in a bit at the end. Her eyes… were they almond shaped? Was she a little “floppy”? I asked the doctor. They did some genetic testing. Two weeks later, we learned that Sylvia has mosaic Down syndrome.

Mosaic Down syndrome is a type of Down syndrome where some cells in the body have an extra 21st chromosome and some do not. Every type of body tissue may have a different percentage of affected cells, so there is really no way to predict what kind of impact the extra chromosomes will have on the growth and development of the child. All of the risks common to the Down syndrome diagnosis apply, but individuals with mDs often have a milder clinical presentation.

So… here we are a year later. Sylvia is such a joy. She’s a healthy, happy, vigorous little girl. She meets milestones on her own timeline. She rockets around on her belly in a very speedy army crawl. She climbs up to snuggle anyone who sits on the floor. She just started giving slobbery kisses. She’s got her own team of therapists, both professional and in the form of two big brothers and a big sister. We don’t know what the future holds for her, but we’re all in it together. And, I’m so thankful that we get to face the unknowns with her in our arms.

Give me a list of all her disabilities and challenges. I want to check “yes” for every last one.
For more information about domestic infant adoption, please contact me at

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