Sunday, August 23, 2015

Three Years Ago We Simply Couldn't See


Three years ago on August 22, we sat heartbroken and confused at a small Cuban dive in Tallahassee, Florida. Over delicious food (that took an incredibly long time to be served), we talked and we didn't talk and we simply sat together in our grief. A beautiful storm rolled in. It grew dark while we sat there together. We looked into one another's eyes and we then we didn't look at each other's eyes and there was no making sense of it all. Why were we even there? Why had we even come?


We got back in the car and I flipped through the stations, landing on a song that became a rallying cry for us. "My God is awesome. Heals me when I'm broken. Strength when I've been weakened. Praise His Holy Name." Oh, how we needed that song-needed that reminder of who God is and what He's really like. We sang it and I probably cried (because we did a lot of that during that weekend). I don't remember much more of that evening, but I do know this: there was no part of us that knew what God was about to do. We couldn't see what He was up to. We didn't know the good plans He had coming. We knew He is a powerful, healing, amazing God. But we couldn't see that He was working...there was so much we simply could not see or understand.

We had no idea. We had no idea that an incredibly brave and beautiful woman scheduled for a c-section in the morning was getting ready for bed that evening, too, a couple hours away from us in Florida. We went to bed, sad and worn out from our tears, confused and wondering what God was doing in our adoption story. All the while she was going to bed with a different weight on her heart, very aware that it was her last night with a baby boy she had been carrying for nine months. She went to bed knowing she would wake up in the morning and do one of the most selfless and painful things any mother can do for her child. She would wake up and give birth to her son and lovingly place him into the heart and hands of another family to love and raise him.








So tonight I'm remembering it all afresh and here's what gets me crying: it's thinking of what it must have been like for her that night-thinking of her strength, her courage, her resolve. I'm imagining what must have been going through her head and her heart that night. I'm guessing during those hours, she may have been in a place of wondering what exactly God was up to. The hard and the pain and the struggle she was walking through had to loom large. I'm guessing she likely couldn't see that good was on the horizon in her own life. Maybe she couldn't see Him much at all.

I've written before about why I think you should be amazed by her but I've got to say it again. My baby could have been one of the millions who were never given a chance. These three years filled with watching him smile, laugh, learn, hug, and live could have never happened. But she gave him life. She gave him a future. She gave us the gift of him. How can we possibly convey our gratitude? We simply can't.





Sweet reader friends, I don't know what your Cuban restaurant experience looks like right now. I'm not sure where you feel confused and where you are wondering if God's really doing anything good at all. But when I look back on our story three years ago, I know this: just because we can't see what God is doing, doesn't mean He's not at work. If you can't see Him...hold on. Your story is not over. There is life to come.


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Friday, August 21, 2015

Adoption Story: Brad and Christie's Happy Anniversary


This sweet couple just happens to be celebrating eleven years of marriage today! That makes sharing their story of adoption and love even more special.


The way that Brad and Christie have cared for one another throughout their long journey to parenthood is pretty remarkable. It's so easy to be consumed in the waiting, losing sight of the precious gift of marriage while waiting for the precious gift of a child. But this couple was committed to prioritizing their relationship come what may.

They came to CAC in 2014, were matched about 9 months after they applied to agencies, and their adorable son was born this July. They happily wanted to share their story:

"When we first married, we intentionally waited to begin growing our family. We wanted to cherish our time together for a few years and really build a strong foundation for our marriage. 
With every infertility hurdle, we became closer. While getting things in order to begin adoption, we had fun spending those years traveling to Italy, tailgating at football games, playing golf, and playing like the big kids we were. While waiting to be matched, we prayed harder, loved bigger, and grew even closer. It was the most difficult thing we have ever experienced, but God made good on that desire he put in our hearts! That is the blessing of it all. Our hearts melt when we look into Connor's eyes. He makes all those negative pregnancy tests and adoption match 'No's' more than ok. All they really meant was that it wasn't time." 

Another thing about this couple that stands out in my mind is the way that God worked in their hearts about a building relationship with their little one's birth mama. When I first talked with them about CAC, they were very hesitant about the idea of any ongoing contact with birth parents in adoption. But God had another plan for them. As they humbly laid their hearts out before Him, listening for His voice, their hearts were shaped and molded to match the plan He had for them. Christie shares,

"Oh goodness. I don't even know if we can fully explain or even yet comprehend how much Brad and I love her. She must be one of the Lord's angels, because there is no earthly explanation for how special she is. She is almost like our cheerleader! She checks on us to make sure we are all doing good and see if Connor is letting us sleep. On his 1 month birthday, she texted to tell us "happy 1 month of being awesome parents." To say that was humbling is an understatement.  So as best as I can put it - We are beyond grateful for her choosing to give Connor life and letting us be his parents. We love her in this special, miraculously, big way."

When I look at the deep, committed way that Brad and Christie love one another, their son, and his birth mom, I see the Author of love. They are living out-loud, 1 John 4:7 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God."


Brad and Christie, I have no doubt that with the grace of God, your commitment to God and to one another, and with this sweet son in your arms, you're in for one of the best years of marriage yet! Happy Anniversary!

(Note: photos courtesy of Reflections by Amanda and Anna Hotz Lard.)
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Please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for more info about adoption and CAC. I'd love to help you in your adoption journey!


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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Adoption Story: Gary and Angela (and His always and forever love)

The road that Gary and Angela have walked as they’ve waited to become parents has been a treacherous one. I’m not sure that I know of any other adoption story quite so etched with heartbreak and tears. But the amazing thing about their story isn’t that it’s been filled with sorrow. The amazing thing is that even before they brought their son home in May, God was drawing them near and they were still praising His name.

Before Gary and Angela came to Christian Adoption Consultants in June of last year, they had been in the valley of the shadow of death for quite a while. Multiple pregnancy losses. Multiple failed matches. Multiple failed adoptions. And most excruciatingly, the incomparable loss of the little boy they loved as their own for eight months as he fought for life in the hospital.
(As you can see in these pictures, every moment of this precious little guy's life on earth was covered in love.)
No one would have batted an eye if Gary and Angela had said, “This is it. We’re done trying. This is just too hard!” But Angela has always had the passionate heart of a mommy and Gary has always had the tender heart of a father. They looked to their Heavenly Father, longing to trust Him, and kept going.

Still, after having been through so much already, their hearts were so fragile. They simply could not jump into every potential adoption situation that came their way. Together we prayed and we waited for the right situation to come. Thankfully, God is not just the King of the Universe. He is also a compassionate, gentle Father. He was ever present, caring for them like a Shepherd-guiding, protecting, upholding and leading them one day at a time. There were plenty of “maybe’s” while God was doing a powerful work of healing in their hearts. And then one day, seemingly out of no where, God led them to their “yes.” The “yes” that He knew was coming all along.

Their “yes” could not have been more perfect for them. They were matched at the beginning of February and their beautiful son was born this May. As I think of their sweet son at home in their arms and the years that they wept waiting for him, I can’t help but worship! The God who did not leave them, but sustained and carried them, is the God who brought them to this day of rejoicing.



Gary and Angela, when I look at your story, I see Him. Truly, He loves us with a "Never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.” (The Jesus Storybook Bible) My heart is overflowing with love for your family and praise to the God who brought you to this happy day!

(Note: professional photos courtesy of Kelly Ralstin.)
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Please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for more info about adoption and CAC. I'd love to help you in your adoption journey!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Adoption Story: Don and Mel

I am just bursting with happiness for this sweet family who just finalized the adoption of their son! Watching them honor God throughout their adoption process was such an encouragement to my heart.


Don and Mel came to Christian Adoption Consultants in August of last year already very familiar with the ups and downs of adoption. They had experienced a heartbreaking international adoption journey that didn’t result in bringing a little one home. They knew all too well the reality that adoption can be a difficult rollercoaster ride of faith. And that is exactly what their domestic adoption journey has been. But oh, how God has shown His faithfulness in giving them peace along every turn!

They began presenting their profile in September 2014 and were quickly chosen that same month by an expectant mama due in January. Almost immediately the obstacles came. Difficultly accessing information, complex potential health issues for the baby, a complete change in some of the expectant parents’ preferences, a change in due date, confusing and foggy uncertainties that just kept coming and coming and coming. Mel and I had countless conversations about all of the unknowns.  Again and again we recounted what knew for sure in all of it: that God is trustworthy, that He is mighty, that He knows what He’s doing, that He is good. In the midst of unknowns, He poured out His peace on their hearts.

At one point, Mel called and let me know the latest turn in the story…they had just been informed that (due to some more unforeseen circumstances) someone else would likely now be adopting this child. There were many tears and we all felt shocked and frustrated. But God wasn’t surprised and He was not done with their story. Again they surrendered to Him and again He brought peace in the midst of unknowns. And what appeared to be the impossible suddenly became possible again. The other adoptive family was no longer wanting to move forward and once more, they were back to preparing for this baby's birth.

When he arrived, they chose to give him a name that means “peace.” This boy's life is a testimony to God’s love and care…a beautiful reminder that our Father always knows what He is doing, even when chaos swirls around us. God is our peace. I’m so thankful to have watched His peace reign in this family’s story.
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com. 

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Adoption Story: Derek and Malissa


Derek and Malissa began working with me back in September. They had friends who adopted with the assistance of Christian Adoption Consultants and had been praying for a while about when to start their own journey. I remember the first time I spoke with Malissa; I was immediately struck by her heart for God and her desire to follow Him in each step of their adoption process. I remember telling my husband after that phone call, “Whatever happens in their adoption, they are going to handle it well. Their hearts just want to please the Lord."

They were home study ready in November and began applying to agencies right away. Three months later they were matched! They lovingly invested their hearts in the life of the expectant mama, praying for her precious baby and preparing for his arrival. But this little one was not the child God had for them. Through the heartbreak and tears, they clung to one another and the Lord, believing He would bring their baby in His timing.

At almost the same time they were processing their loss, they heard about another woman getting ready to choose a family for her baby. After praying, they decided to put their hearts on the line again and they were chosen! But this time, everything felt different. They had an immediate connection with the expectant mom and dad and a sense of peace flooded their hearts. When they travelled and spent time with the expectant parents, conversation flowed easily and they all felt joined together on the same team for sake of this little one. Derek and Malissa knew there aren’t guarantees during this part of the adoption process, but they just felt the abiding peace of God.

Their little man entered the world at the beginning of June. He is the son they have been praying for all along and he is so very loved by his proud big sisters!
Derek and Malissa, your son is such a picture of God's love and faithfulness. I will never forget the ways that you trusted Him to write your adoption story, even when it wasn't easy.
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com. 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adoption Story: Jesse and Brooke's Twins

When you’re around adoption even just a little bit, you start to notice some similar threads with each unique story. You will start to see God’s fingerprints there each time, declaring that His timing is always perfect and that He is always working for good in all of the details. Check out the wild ways He vibrantly revealed Himself in Brooke and Jesse’s story...

In June of last year, Jesse and Brooke got started with Christian Adoption Consultants. They began their home study process right away and then they waited, and waited, and waited some more for it to be finished. They were so ready to start presenting but summer passed and then fall ticked along, and still they waited for their home study to be ready to go. Jesse and Brooke held tight to truth that God’s timing is always perfect and trusted that He was up to good.

Fast forward to the end of October and Jesse and Brooke were finally home study approved. I forwarded them an adoption situation: twins due in the spring. They read it over but hadn’t thought much about adopting multiples and shrugged it off, deciding not to present. Other families presented but as the expectant mama looked at profiles, she just didn’t quite feel like she found what she was looking for. A couple weeks later, I received word that a family still had not been found for these boys and I sent the situation out again. Brooke says,

"I thought, 'Ok Lord, are you trying to tell us something?!' We prayed about it and felt God clearly saying, ‘Yes, present!'  We got to a place of peace knowing that He could open or close the door."

While they were waiting to hear if they were chosen, I got a text from Brooke about God’s timing. She told me that almost exactly four years earlier they had found out that they had lost the twins Brooke was pregnant with. God is such a redemptive God with His timing, even when it comes to dates that hold great sorrow.

The twins’ birthmom knew that Jesse and Brooke were what she was looking for. They formed a tight, fast bond, joined together with a common love for the boys. (If you want a picture of how beautiful open adoption can be, look no further than Jesse and Brooke’s story. They all consider one another family.) Countless details confirmed to all of them that this was God’s doing. Here’s one pretty incredible example that Brooke highlights:

"Prior to being matched God had laid the verse Jeremiah 29:11 on Jesse's heart and kept laying it on his heart.  He woke up one night and journaled it even!  When we had our first visit with our boys’ birth momma we hadn't heard her whole story. As she began to tell us, she included how she started to claim Jeremiah 29:11 for these boys lives!  Jesse teared up and told her to open the small gift and card we brought her.  I had no idea!  In the card he wrote out the verse!  God had so many of these confirmations along the way. It's just crazy.  It was so clear to us and their birthmom."

He truly is in every detail. And God’s perfect timing? Well, on almost the exact day Jesse and Brooke signed up with CAC and started praying for their birth momma, the twins were conceived. These precious, sweet baby boys were born in March and their story speaks so clearly of God’s hand at work.

Jesse and Brooke, I could look at pictures of your family over and over and never get tired of it. God’s plans really are so perfect, aren’t they?
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Please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com for more info about adoption and CAC. I'd love to help you in your adoption journey!

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Adoption Story: Jimmy and Kylee's Birthday Miracle

I have been waiting to share this adoption story with you for quite a while now. Today is the day! Every time I think of Jimmy and Kylee and the details surrounding them becoming parents, I seriously squeal! Really, it's that amazing! I promise you, I could not make this stuff up.

Jimmy and Kylee got in touch with Christian Adoption Consultants on August 9, 2014 after they were pointed in our direction by another CAC family. I had a long conversation with them on the phone where I could almost picture them on the edge of their seats. They were SO ready for their long wait to be over and could not wait to get started with CAC. God did something during our conversation and just like that my heart was connected with theirs; they were fast friends. There was just this energy and almost palpable sense of anticipation between all of us that God was about to do something big. Little did we know what God had in store...

A couple of days after that phone call, Jimmy and Kylee got started with CAC and I immediately began sending them adoption situations. After a year and a half of waiting at their agency and seeing nothing, they suddenly had hope that God wasn't done with their story. They knew there was a child He would bring to them and they were so thankful for the opportunity to finally start presenting their profile.

Then almost exactly a month later, I got an email about a little baby girl who needed a family; the agency said they needed to know immediately if anyone wanted to present their profile. It was around lunch time and I knew that Kylee was in school teaching. She wouldn't be checking her email until it would be too late to present. Thankfully, a couple days before that Kylee had said, "Katie, call me ANY time at school. Page me if you need to. Don't hesitate. My whole school is cheering us on in our adoption and they can't wait to see us become parents." (How awesome is that?) So, I spoke with the office and they put me through to Kylee. I love imagining her in her classroom filled with little kids, hearing my hyper-excited voice on the line as I shared about the situation. She didn't even need time to think about it. She knew they wanted to present. This was what they had been waiting for and she knew it.

The weekend came and we waited to hear about the birthmama's decision, Kylee emailed me this:
"This is awesome and my birthday is Monday!!!!!! Wouldn't this be a fantastic birthday gift? In fact, I have already taken a personal day to be off with my family that day. Praying for God to give this baby girl exactly what she needs."

Monday arrived and we knew a decision was coming. I was in my car, praying like crazy for Jimmy and Kylee and even my four year old was praying earnestly, "Please, help Miss Kylee have this baby for her birthday!" Kylee and Jimmy were about to go nuts waiting to hear an update. And then the update came. I got a hysterical call from Kylee and could barely even understand her. They had been chosen! Talk about an incredible birthday gift! They rushed to Florida as fast as possible and on September 16, they met their daughter for the first time. It was as if they had known each other forever.

I'm not sure I've ever seen two people more in awe at God for the gift of being parents. Every single time they mention their daughter, they stand amazed at His goodness. They know without a doubt that their daughter is a miracle from Him. This sweet ones adoption was just finalized and that awe has not dwindled even the slightest for Jimmy and Kylee. Only God can write stories like this. He is worthy to be praised!
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For more information about domestic adoption, please contact me at katief@christianadoptionconsultants.com. 






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