December Adoptive Family :: Kari & Austin

Over the years, one of our favorite questions to answer is, “How did you two meet”. Almost instantly, we have been known to bust out into laughter, both knowing the answer to this questions will earn more than a few awkward glances.

Flashback to April of 2011, when on a cold, winter-like day here in Northern Ohio, I had the great idea to sneak over to my boss’s house and borrow his hot tub. You see, in our VERY small town (under 200 people at this time of the year), it’s not uncommon to find yourself in others’ homes. Everyone is very welcoming, and most share the “my house is your house” mentality. So, when a group of guys a few years younger than me (Austin being one of them) also showed up to borrow the hot tub, we all had to laugh at the irony of the whole ordeal. That, my friends, is how I officially met my husband – on a cold winter day, in our boss’s hot tub.

 

This small community of ours would continue to (and still does) play a huge role in our relationship. Over the years, our friendship grew. We spent our college years working together at the same little family run business – Austin as the Kitchen Manager, and me as the store manager – all the while, both dating different people, but always remaining friends. So in the summer of 2013 when Austin was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he told me about it. The type of cancer he had was pretty uncommon for someone his age to develop and, because of its aggressive nature, had to be removed surgically. Austin bounced back quickly – taking a few weeks to recover from the procedure and then returning to daily life as normal. Thankfully, the surgery had prevented any further spread, and he didn’t have to undergo any chemo or radiation therapy.

Our second favorite question is, “Where did you go on your first date”. This one usually solicits an awkward exchange of eye contact as we attempt to figure it out. We still haven’t figured out the perfect answer, but our favorite option is the night Austin asked me out for drinks after a long day of work. A few drinks in, I specifically remember him trying to flirt with me. I stopped mid-conversation, turned to him, and said, “You know that I will never, ever date you, right?”. This has quickly become our favorite joke – we never “officially” dated each other. Austin never “officially” asked me to be his girlfriend. We just fell in love somewhere along the way and were married less than a year later.

Our journey to adoption has always felt quite different than most. We knew from the very beginning that we would never be able to conceive a child naturally, so there was no “trying” period. We had our first talk about adoption at a community baseball game less than a month after telling him that I’d never date him. Not 6 months later, we were consulting with a fertility clinic to find out what our options would be once we were married. We never had to deal with the heartbreak that comes with learning that you are infertile after months or years of trying without success – we just knew.

What we were not prepared for was the journey that would follow. We were elated when we found out that we were pregnant with a little girl after our first round of IVF. And, we were devastated when we found out that her heart was no longer beating. The disappointment of not being able to conceive naturally felt like nothing compared to the pain of losing our daughter.

For months, I was so angry with God. I had begged and prayed and pleaded for a miracle, but none came. He couldn’t give us back our baby girl. But in June, He called us back to church. In a single hour, my heart was changed. That entire church service, it felt like our pastor was speaking directly to us. He said, “You cannot resist the Lord’s calling for you. You may have an image of what your life is supposed to look like, but you are not in control. God has a plan for you. It may scare you, and it may not be the same plan you had for yourself, but when you start to listen to His calling, He will guide you and protect you”. To this day, I cannot describe the feeling I felt when we left church that day. It was like a weight had been lifted. The world had brightened. And, for the first time in months, we knew what we needed to do.

All of our conversations about adoption over the years had led us here. We jumped head first into the adoption process and signed up to work with Christian Adoption Consultants. Three months later, our home study was approved. We poured our souls into our profile books and mailed them to as many agencies as we could. And now, we wait and pray for the baby that God has planned for us to arrive in our arms.

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