April Adoptive fam :: The Edwards Fam

Hi everyone! We are Ryan and Bethany Edwards. We started the process of an infant domestic adoption in December 2017. We have currently been “active” for seven months, which means we could get matched any day! You are invited to walk alongside us in this journey, because we know that it is only with the support and prayer of those around us that we will ultimately call a baby our own. They say, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes a village to adopt one.
 
When I (Bethany) was eighteen, I was diagnosed with a hormonal abnormality that causes infertility. I had never really thought about adoption; in fact, I hadn’t ever really thought about being a mother before. After grieving the loss of my fertility with close family and friends, I began to think about the implications for my future. I researched the orphan crisis around the world and across the country. I learned that if one family out of every three churches in America adopted a child, there would be no more children in need of families in the United States (Hartford Institute for Religious Research). The more I learned, the more my heart broke for orphans. I couldn’t stand that there are children who think that they aren’t wanted, aren’t loved, aren’t worth it. And as I began to mature, the Lord unveiled another concept: that I myself am adopted (Eph. 1:5-7). So unworthy, so dirty, so poor, so disabled, so sinful… and He picked me. And I wasn’t a “last resort.” He chose me first and chose me forever.
I decided that I wanted to marry someone who wanted to adopt – and not just because I wanted to adopt, but because HE wanted to. On one of our first dates, Ryan told me about a family he met as a camp counselor at Sky Ranch. The family consisted of multiple adopted children, several with special needs. It was through this and similar experiences that he felt the Lord placing adoption on his heart. He shared this with me before he knew that I had any thoughts on adoption. We didn’t know a lot back then, but we knew we each felt a calling. All Christians are instructed to care for the orphan (Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 82:3-4; James 1:27), but Ryan and I are called to adopt the orphan. Individually, and now years later, as one.
 
After we got engaged, Ryan and I visited a doctor who specializes in my specific diagnosis. To our enormous surprise, she informed us that I had been misdiagnosed six years prior. She had no reason to believe that we would have any trouble conceiving. God used an infertility misdiagnosis to open my eyes and heart to my adoption as His child and His desire for me and Ryan to bring an orphan into our home. This new medical news did not change that.
 
Three years ago, we got married. Since then, we’ve been through new jobs, two moves, our first house purchase, two puppies, graduate school, church partnership, ministry leadership, and more laughter than I could have possibly imagined. When we decided that it was time to grow our family, there was no question in our minds that we would pursue an adoption.
 Although our adoption story may not be typical, it has given us a platform to tell our friends and family about the beauty and joy of adoption. We love sharing our story and showing others that adopting a child doesn’t have to be the last resort on the journey toward parenthood. We have already been blessed and encouraged by the adoption community and are excited to be lifelong friends with other families who share the desire to care for the orphan.
 
For an even more intimate picture into our adoption journey, you can head over to my blog at www.EdwardsExpanding.com. You can also check out a video of our story here!
 
Love,
Ryan and Bethany Edwards

March Adoptive Fam:: The Zimmer Fam

Hello friends!!! We are Andrew & Casey Zimmer. We most recently welcomed our son Jude this past February!!! We are overjoyed that we were chosen to share our journey to parenthood with you.  Please read on.

Andrew and I met as freshman in college and began dating in 2007. We were married in 2011 right after graduating. While were dating, we had discussed our mutual desire to have children.  This included having children naturally as well as traditional adoption. We shared a love to be parents and always felt this calling.

[We are engaged October 2010]

 

[Wedded bliss, marrying my best friend June 2011]

In my mind I would get through grad school, Andrew would be working at a good job, we’d buy a house, I’d work for a year, and we would start having kids after that.  I had it all figured out, seemingly.  

Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Andrew had a difficult time finding work while I completed grad school to be a speech-language pathologist. He had a communications degree, making it unclear what he was qualified for.  As my graduation approached, Andrew investigated Master’s programs in hopes of having better success with finding stable work.  I graduated May 2013 and we moved to Boone, NC about 2 months later. So we packed our things, and tearfully said goodbye, and moved 8 hours away.  This was scary and exciting at the same time since we knew no one and would be near more of God’s beautiful creation. I had not secured a job before the move.  We quickly found it difficult for me to find work due to the location and differences in state licensure laws. The pressure was on for me to find work, due to still having to complete a 9-month fellowship.  I prayed and happened to job search in my hometown of Columbus, IN. With no prospects in NC, I went for the interview and got the job. Against our better judgments, I moved back to Columbus, IN and stayed with my parents around March 2014.  

[Ahhh, living 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway was magical, North Carolina 2014]

After much prayer and hearing from God, it was time to start growing our family in May 2014.  We began trying to conceive naturally and estimated it would take a few months to get pregnant.  This was a difficult task considering we lived 8 hours away from each other.  I timed my ovulation and Andrew did a lot of driving. By June 2015, I began going to the OB/GYN to begin some preliminary testing since we had been trying to get pregnant for a year without any success.  I went through a battery of tests, which indicated no contraindications to my fertility health. Now it was Andrew’s turn. He began with a few routine measures and quickly started going to an Urologist. The Urologist completed tests and found his sperm count and quality to be abnormally low.  He started medications. I started a new job at a hospital and we moved to Richmond, IN. Andrew continued to be unemployed following getting his Master’s degree. After being on the medication for some time, tests were repeated and showed little improvements for Andrew’s fertility. Andrew underwent an invasive surgery in January 2016.  After a period of months healing, Andrew goes back on the same medication. He continues to be unemployed. We find our “church home.” We get involved in the young adult small group in March 2016, and finish the Sermon on the Mount study with them. Our next study is a marriage book by Francis Chan. This timing is perfect. We go to our first fertility doctor appointment in July 2016.  Things don’t look that great and the doctor cannot recommend IVF. He delivers this crushing blow: THERE IS LESS THAN A 1% CHANCE THAT YOU WILL HAVE BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN.  How do you swallow and process that?  Remember the “plan” we had early on?

Isaiah 43:2-3a “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

So, we had to have some options, right?  What about Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and other women in the Bible?  The Lord provided the way for them to have children, against all odds. What do we do?  Pray and trust that the Lord will grant us children in His timing.

We know that without a doubt that God can give us a biological child.  For now, God answered in a different way. The Lord laid adoption on our hearts.  

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba Father!”

God adopted all of us and He is our forever family once we confess belief in Christ and turn from our sinful destruction.  Andrew and I quickly begin looking at the process of adoption. We knew adoption was expensive, but didn’t know it was that expensive.  We also come across embryo adoption during this time. Embryo adoption is where families who have gone through IVF have remaining embryos leftover.  They are done building their families and have decided to continue paying for them to be frozen. Families donate their embryos to adoption agencies and are a part of the selection process to help other families build their family.  Once you are matched with a family, the embryos are shipped to your fertility clinic. From there, the woman’s body is prepped with medication. When her cycle has been timed, the embryos are thawed and are inserted into her uterus. The frozen embryo transfer is an outpatient procedure.  The woman then goes home and waits 2 weeks to test for pregnancy. Though the woman carries the child, it is not biologically related to her. The beauty is that this soul is given a chance at life. It is essentially adoption from birth. There are hundreds of thousands of embryos waiting in freezers in the United States alone.  The decision for us came through lots of prayer, tears, and consideration of our finances. We moved forward with an embryo adoption agency in March 2017. Throughout this process, we were very private about our infertility journey. Only a handful of people knew about our struggles.

The paperwork flood begins.  After 10 months of part time work and continued job searching, Andrew started a job at a university in March 2017.  This was a huge answer to prayer. We were now both working full-time, which further demonstrated God’s faithfulness.  

The embryo adoption process is very similar to traditional adoption.  There’s a ton of paperwork, a home study, and it’s very invasive. It often left me bitter and resentful.  No prospective parents had to go through this to deem whether they were fit to be parents. God reminded me over and over again of His goodness. By mid June our home study was completed.  All of our paperwork, reports, and profile books were sent off in July 2017 by God’s grace. We began being much more transparent with our faith family about our infertility journey during this time.  So many people have since come forward with their own stories or shared about families who have been blessed through adoption. We experienced sacred moments of prayer, laying of hands, and an outpouring of love. Our faith family certainly surrounded us and ministered to us during this time.

[Getting creative with our announcement]

By January 2018 we completed the matching phase of our adoption.  We are now the proud owners of 10 embryos thanks to a generous family.  

[Awaiting frozen embryo transfer May 2018]

I eventually started medications to prepare my body, which took roughly 2.5 months.  The procedure itself has a 40% success rate. Our fertility clinic has a policy where they only insert 1 embryo at a time for the procedure.  In late May, I go in for the frozen embryo transfer procedure. One embryo is thawed, looks great, and is transferred. We go home and try to relax.  On June 1st, we receive THE PHONE CALL; blood work confirms it, WE ARE PREGNANT!!!!!

[Our little blastocyst- roughly 5-6 days old]

 

 

[Announcing our pregnancy joy!]

 

[Freezing for maternity photos. We can’t wait to meet you and figure out if you are a boy or girl]

 

[Welcome to the world Jude, the little embryo that could, our miracle boy]

 

[We love you so much! You will never know how loved for and prayed over you have been throughout this process. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME]

We are still pinching ourselves and cannot believe our little man is here.  This boy is fearfully, wonderfully, and beautifully made by God. He has brought so much joy and love to our little family.  His timing is best. We welcome any and all questions you may have concerning embryo adoption. Adoption from birth rocks!!!!!!

Thank you for reading!!! We appreciate all your support!!!!!!

Love,

The Zimmer Family

PS. head over to Instagram to follow along on all our fundraising adventures this month!

 

February Adoptive Family:: The Fazenbaker Family

Hey, y’all! We are Kelley and Nathaniel Fazenbaker. We are so excited and thankful to be able to share our story. Thank you for following along! After being married for a couple of years, Nate and I decided in September 2015 we were ready to … [Continue reading]

January Adoptive Family:: The Warren Family

My husband, Kyle, and I met in 2006 in college. We dated and became engaged in 2009. We had our dream wedding in front of family, friends and God in 2010. Kyle and I have always wanted to expand our family to include children. We both come from … [Continue reading]

December Adoptive Family :: The Jordan Family

Hi! We are Blake, Jessica & Ivy! We are living proof that high school sweethearts still exist! We met when Blake was a senior and I {Jessica} was a sophomore in 2002  Blake went on to play college baseball and study Sports Management while I went … [Continue reading]

November Adoptive Family:: The Douglas Family

We are Brian and Heather, and together, with our new daughter, Remi, we make up Team Douglas! We got married on a chilly day in September 2014, after about a year of dating and engagement. As part of the pre-marriage discussions, adoption was always … [Continue reading]

October Adoptive Family :: The Sorenson Family

Hey! We are Aaron and Kristin Sorenson. We are the parents to two little kiddos through adoption, Jonas (2.5 years) and Lany ((Lane-y) 3 months)! When I (Kristin) grew up, my neighbors had grown their family through adoption. Seeing their family’s … [Continue reading]

September Adoptive Family :: The Houk Family

We are Kenn and Kari – the Houk family! Kenn and I were introduced in 2015 through a mutual friend and hit it off instantly. Nine months after the day we met, we exchanged wedding vows in front of the Lord, friends and family. The day was beautiful, … [Continue reading]

August Adoptive Family :: The Canny Family

We are the Canny Family. Mom (Holly), Dad (Michael), and twin 5 year-old girls (Chloe and Niamh). Our dossier has been in South Korea for 9 weeks now and we expect to be matched within the next couple of days to weeks. Currently the time frame is as … [Continue reading]

June Adoptive Fam :: Christopher & Kelsey

Hi, Yall! We are Christopher and Kelsey. Our journey to grow our family has been filled with many twists turns and a whole lot of faith. When we began dating almost 10 years ago, we talked about a big family that included adoption. Chris jokes that I … [Continue reading]