May Adoptive Family :: The Exsted Fam!

We are Mike and Cassandra. We live in the Midwest, along with our three biological children. This year, we are celebrating ten years of marriage! Five years ago, if you were flipping through the pages of my Bible, you would land on a page, where written in the margins, the word adopt would jump out at you! As husband and wife, we knew it would always be a “yes” to growing our family through adoption, we were just unsure of the when.
Rewind to four years ago, on September 30th, 2013 we welcomed our third child, a son. Those first 6 weeks were met with blissful, hazy, sleepless nights. At 8 week postpartum, my world would be engulfed with the deep and dark, my face often stained with tears. A few close friends stepped in and started fighting for me, they suggested I see my primary doctor. The floodgates opened, because I knew the answer that would be stamped on my folder…postpartum depression and anxiety. It wasn’t the “label” that I was fearful of, it was the hopes and dreams that I felt I lost along the way. For the next 3 months, families would take us into their homes during the day, caring for my children, as I tried to crawl out of the hole that swallowed me. I would slowly begin to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” It was an ebb and flow of 2 1/2 long years, one step forward, two steps back. I was slowly gaining the tools and the courage that I needed to put my life back together.
During this time, I let the dream of adopting slip through my hands. I even went as far as, selling all of our baby items. I knew that physically and emotionally, I was biologically done having children. Yet, there was still that little whisper that would tug at my heart. My family did not feel complete, what about the call to  care for the orphans and the widows?! I would often bring up adoption to my husband throughout the year, he seemed distant to the idea, and I would let it go. Last summer I brought up adoption again, this time the answer was different. With a tender and changed heart, he said “Yes” and we began to fill out paperwork.
September 2017, we turned in everything we needed to begin our adoption journey. Its humbling to see such great gifts along the way. We are relying fully on God to fund this adoption! Our homestudy was completed on February 26th, 2018. We are now an official, waiting to be matched family! We have already experienced one failed match, and we are currently waiting for a couple to decide what family will fit best. Each time we walk away, with more trust in our hearts, and feeling incredibly honored to walk alongside each story presented. Adoption is more than just opening up our hearts and home to a child. It’s the greatest picture of the Gospel! God has adopted us into his family as sons and daughters. We in return, have the honor to welcome a child in the very same way. It shouts and proclaims loudly, a beautiful redemption song! This is our beauty from ashes!
Love,
Mike & Cassandra
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be sure to go over to Instagram to learn about the ways you can support this family the whole month of May.

April Adoptive Family :: Beth & Matt

Matt and I met 10 years ago when we sat down in a church pew during his first month of college. We were friends for a year and dated for 3 years before we were married in the same church where our love story began. 

Two years after we were married, we had our beautiful daughter, Nora. We always knew we wanted more than one baby, so when Nora was around 18 months old we began talking about growing our family again. 

A couple months later, I was diagnosed with Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and causes health problems. After consulting with specialists and trying to control my thyroid problems with medication, it was decided that the best course of action was to have my thyroid surgically removed. I had the surgery in January of 2016 and began the road to recovery. While the setback in our timing was frustrating, we knew that once I was healthy, the plan have another baby would be back on track.

When Nora was around 9 months old, we experienced a miscarriage. While it was heartbreaking, we also knew that many women (1 in 4) experience the same loss. We didn’t doubt that when it was time to have another baby, we wouldn’t have any trouble. 

Since I had been diagnosed with Graves we had begun talking seriously about adoption. the endocrinologist I had informed us that, while it doesn’t happen often, Graves disease can cause infertility. We were prepared that I may not be able to have more biological children, but we never quite believed it. We put plans in place to hopefully maintain my fertility and achieve pregnancy as soon as possible once my thyroid was removed.

Several months after my surgery we experienced our second miscarriage, and then our third. It was then we began seeking medical advice and I underwent genetic testing to determine why this was happening. After being diagnosed with the MTHFR mutation and beginning some health changes to help, we were sure another biological baby was right around the corner. We lost 6 sweet babies before I was given a blanket “secondary infertility and reoccurring miscarriages” diagnosis and told to not continue trying.

When we had our 6th miscarriage we felt so defeated. We knew we wanted more children. Our daughter is amazing, she’s the absolute light of our lives, but the desire to have another child was not something that was going to go away. Every time I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand, we were met with a feeling of “hopeful optimistic” only to feel crushed over and over again. I gave away two big sister shirts over the course of 3 years because Nora outgrew them, and then I stopped buying them.

 We had always wanted to adopt, but it usually came down to timing. Isn’t that how it always goes? Get pregnant this year, baby will get bigger, have another baby, baby will get bigger, then we’ll adopt. It’s funny now thinking about how we wanted our kids no more than 3 years apart and now, I’m so thankful for this time with Nora.

We spent a lot of time having the difficult conversations that come with deciding to begin this journey. We talked about all the avenues of adoption and how it would look for our family and more than talking, we prayed. In January of 2016 Matt and I decided that we were going to adopt our next child. We began the process and are home study approved with an agency here in Colorado. We can not wait to bring a new baby into our family.

We are so thankful for the story that the Lord is writing for our family.

Love,

The Howard Family

**follow CHEERS TO PLAN A on Instagram for updates on how to support this family all month long.

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