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.
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com.

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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.
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com.

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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.
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For more information about domestic infant adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Guest Post: A New Perspective This Father's Day


This week, in honor of Christian Adoption Consultant's Father's Day Discount, I'm featuring some guest posts from CAC dads. There is something so powerful about hearing from the heart of a father! I have loved working with Will and his wife, Candice, from day one. Right away, it was so evident to me that they have hearts full of love for Jesus and a desire to follow how Him however He leads in their adoption journey. Will, thank you for sharing some reflections with us as you approach this Father's Day!

Photo Cred: Brittany Lynn

As I approach Father’s Day this year I find myself with a new perspective that I didn’t have before starting down the road of adoption. My wife Candice and I have a beautiful three year old boy, Liam, that we have been blessed with biologically, but we are new to this world adoption and all that this incredible journey entails. While we had always talked about wanting to adopt someday, even before having Liam, the reality of the process is so different than what I personally thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the most exciting times in our lives. We have been overwhelmed by our friends and family and how they have rallied around us and amazed by the unexpected ways that God has blessed us. But as we travel this path that God is taking us down, we try to be as open and honest with those around us about all aspects of this journey. 

I’ll just come out and say it. Adoption is hard! While it is in my opinion one of the most beautiful decisions you can make, the road for us has been one that has been dotted with tearful nights, unexpected detours, difficult decisions and moments of heartbreak. It is in these hardships however that I believe God uses us to tell His story of love for the world. I truly believe that being transparent about the pain, anxiety, sacrifice, and hardship doesn't lessen the beauty of adoption; it increases it! 

Looking to the cross I am reminded that Christ had to come to earth, live as a man, take on the sins of the world, be separated from His Father, suffer and die on the cross to adopt us into our heavenly family for eternity. Without that suffering and sacrifice the victory and display of the depth of His love would not have been nearly as great. Even Christ asked His Father to take the cup from Him if there were any other way - but that was not in God's perfect story of salvation for the world. A sacrifice had to be made. I believe that if we were not aware of how great His cost was for us, we would not truly grasp how deep His love for us is. To me, it is through this sometimes painful road of adoption that I believe we are given the opportunity to reflect His perfect love for us by pursuing our future child (or children) regardless of the difficulties that stand in our way. 

I love my savior knowing that I was a sacrifice, it brings me to my knees, draws me close to Him, and gives me strength and peace to know that he desires to take my burdens as His own. As a Christian we are called to love sacrificially - and I count myself blessed to be able to do that through adoption. I look forward to the day that I get to tell my child (or children) how Candice and I sought them out, fought through difficulties, and wouldn’t let anything get in our way because we desired them more than anything in the world. I pray that they will know without a shadow of a doubt the depth of our love by the we showed for them before we even knew who they were. I can’t wait to tell them that the love we have for them was first shown to us as God’s adopted children. Approaching this Father’s Day, my understanding of the love that the Heavenly Father has for us is so much deeper than ever before and I am so thankful that Candice and I have been given the opportunity to reflect His love with the world around us as we pursue adoption. 
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com

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Guest Post: A Dad's Letter to His Daughter's Birthmom


In honor of Christian Adoption Consultant's Father's Day discount, I am grateful to be sharing some guest posts from adoptive dads. When I asked David if he'd like to share a letter to his daughter's birth mom here he quickly answered, "I'm tearing up just thinking about it!" (Oh the love of a father for his child...and to think God loves us even more than this!)  Thank you, David, for sharing your heart for your daughter's birth mama with us!

Photo Credit: Katie Rugg
(From David to Tilly's Birthmom)

Dear “A,”

There are so many things to say, and yet I find myself at a loss for words.  So I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

I had always dreamed of having a daughter.  For whatever reason, I always wanted to have a little “daddy’s girl.”  Early on in our marriage, Sarah and I talked about having three kids.  Our first two kids were boys.  I am crazy about those dudes.  They have brought plenty of challenges as I have learned how to navigate being a dad, but they have also provided an unimaginable amount of joy in my life.  If we had an all-boy family, I would have been delighted.

But then we started talking about adoption, and my heart skipped a beat thinking I might actually have a little girl.  I will never forget the call from our consultant, Katie Fenska, when she said, “Ready for a miracle?  There is a little girl in Florida that needs a family!”  It might have seemed chaotic and it might have made you uneasy, but God had a plan for that little girl that you birthed. 

I will never forget finally pulling up to that hospital.  And never will I ever forget laying eyes on our daughter. I felt the exact same connection laying eyes on her as I did watching my boys being delivered.  It was truly love at first sight.  In that moment, my world was changed.

Several hours later, we got to meet you for the first time.  Sarah and I were nervous.  I can only imagine what was going on in your head.  I won’t pretend to imagine or put to words how you were feeling in a hurricane of emotion, but you locked eyes on me, and said, “This baby is going to have a daddy and brothers to protect her.”  I will never forget that.  That was one of the reasons you were so at peace with our profile book.  You wanted that for her.  What you didn’t know is that this daddy had longed for a daughter to protect.


Everyday, we get the chance to wake up to her massive smile and saucer-like eyes.  Everyday, her little laugh is spread to one or more of our family members.  Everyday is a reminder that you chose life for her.  You chose us to raise her.  She may not have the exact same color skin as we do, but she is one of us.  Everyday, we are reminded of the gift that you gave when you bravely chose life for her. To say "thank you" seems ugly as a means of gratitude for the priceless gift of the daughter that I longed for. 

We always had the name, “Tilly Pearl” picked out, but as we prayed about it, we wanted to honor you.  We added the middle name you wanted for this little girl.  Her official birth certificate reads, “Tilly Pearl Evelee.”  

God knew what he was doing to forever interweave our lives.  He knew exactly the right family for this little girl.  He knew that this dad longed for a daughter.  He knew I needed Tilly. 
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You can read more about David and Sarah's beautiful adoption story here . Please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for more information about domestic adoption!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Father's Day CAC Discount


As Father's Day approaches, I can't help but think of how the Lord is bringing families together every day through adoption.



I am so grateful to get to be a small part of building families through adoption, to see children placed with their forever moms and forever dads. At Christian Adoption Consultants, we are inspired by the message in the New Testament that states we are adopted into God's family as believers.  That we are his children, and he is our Abba Father.

God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. Romans 8:15 (MSG)


In honor of all of our CAC dads, we are offering one of our rare specials to help make the cost of adoption a bit more attainable. We are happy to be sharing 10% off all of our top packages, from June 13-17th.  (Special note: this does not apply to our DIY package).

If adoption has been on your heart, and you aren't sure where to begin, I would love to chat with you more! For a glimpse of other family's stories and fathers who took the step to adopt, click here.

Want more info on Christian Adoption Consultants?  Click here.
What does it mean to hire an adoption consultant?  Click here.
Want to get started or get an info packet?  Click here.

Have friends who are thinking about adoption? Make sure you share this post!

Email me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for an application and information packet or to learn more!

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