the first words out of my mouth {a chapter from my sister’s story}

Nathan and I had been married for 6 months that September. I was starting my first semester of Nursing School at Troy-Montgomery, and Nathan was starting his last year of seminary school. Nathan worked two jobs, one full-time at his family’s business and the other as a bi-vocational family pastor. We were living out in a small, country town in a house that was owned by the church. Our plans were to knock out school for the both of us, find really good jobs, buy a house, and then start a family.

Wrong. I had been having several headaches while at school and had been just feeling really yuck for several days. The nursing student in me, at the time, started diagnosing, but then the realist in me started denying the diagnoses. I thought “what the heck,” I’d take a pregnancy test and just mark it off of my list of possibilities. I went into CVS, very ashamedly (as if I had done something wrong), and got two pregnancy tests. When I got back to our house, I went ahead and took one of the tests. While I was waiting, I was thinking back to my last period and then adding it all my symptoms. I began to feel like I was going to vomit.

Positive.

No way.

I can’t be.

Took the second one.

Positive again.

I immediately started crying and screaming…. “God, I’m going to have to give this baby to my sister!”

I had no concern about anything accept for what this was going to do to my sister. I began pleading and asking God for this to not be real. I was 22 years old, just married, still in school, broke, and had a sister who desperately longed to be pregnant. Nothing could shake the fact that my sister was going to be heartbroken. I knew she would still love me, but I knew this would tear her insides apart.

After taking three more pregnancy tests when Nathan got home, and throwing up several more times, we needed to prepare ourselves. We couldn’t get past the idea of us having a child. Even Nathan kept bringing up how much of a struggle this was going to be for my sister. I had to tell someone and there was no question that the person I would tell would be my mom. We were at lunch at Olive Garden and I started acting all weird and finally just blurted out that I was pregnant. Shock. Then immediately, I told her about Kailey. I just did not know what I was going to do. Since my mom is the best ever, she immediately turned it back to the fact that I was the one that was pregnant and how much of a blessing this is and that Kailey would be ok, eventually.

I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN to confirm the pregnancy and have an ultrasound. Nathan had to be in New Orleans for school so my mom went with me to hold my hand and tell me to breathe. I figured I was maybe 4-5 weeks along and we wouldn’t be able to see anything…wrong, yet again. I was 9 weeks and 5 days and the little one inside of me had the strongest heartbeat. It all became real. There was no mistake. All the feels and emotions became just as real. I was going to have to tell my sister. Ready for one of the worst ideas I have ever had? I’ll tell Kailey over lunch, in a public place. That way she’ll be mildly distracted.

Dumbest idea ever. My mom, Kailey, and myself went to Panera in Auburn and grabbed lunch. Towards the end of lunch I told Kailey I had something to show her. I pulled out my freshly printed ultrasounds pics (ya know, the ones every mom is so excited about getting) and handed them to K. Of course, she was like “no way!” trying to act all happy/surprised…and then immediately started to cry, hysterically. Worst. Sister. Ever. We all began crying and had to leave. Kailey told us before she left that she was really upset but she’ll be ok. She didn’t come over immediately to my parents’ house but eventually showed up later. The whole time she wasn’t there, I just knew she would never be ok. I did not realize it until I became pregnant, but being pregnant is a BIG deal.

Not everyone gets to be pregnant. Many, like my sister, pray hard and dream of the day that they can carry a child. And here I am, wishing I wasn’t pregnant. How do you deal with those thoughts and emotions? After we all hugged it out and knew that we would get through this, I became intentional with my words and thoughts about pregnancy. I began to see how this affected my sister and knew that she can’t be the only one.

She wasn’t the only one. There are so many, heartbreakingly, too many woman who deal with infertility. They long for the one thing I didn’t want right at that moment of my life. What could I do? Not complain. Yeah, pregnancy was not my cup of tea. I puked my guts out with both of my pregnancies until about 20 weeks. I was dilated early on in pregnancy with both of my kiddos and was uncomfortable. But I would not gripe about that to those who I knew would do anything to be in my place. I also began to retract those questions to friends and acquaintances. You know, the ones like “Hey, isn’t it about time for y’all to have some kids?” OR “So is she/he your only one? Don’t y’all want more?” Those tear and rip some waiting mothers to pieces.

So, to complete my pregnancy story, Brooklyn Chase Farris was born on May 7, 2012 at 5:42pm, two days before my last final of my semester. Which is totally fitting because I prayed almost everyday that she would be born after May 9th (her due date was May 21st). God just really showed me what was up during this season of my life. He showed me that HE had plans for Nathan and me. He showed me how to love my sister better. He showed me that my words, and other peoples’ words, could have a huge impact on someone’s heart. This all led me to become more sensitive and aware of the women around me who might have the same struggles as my sister.

My sister and I shared things when we were growing up BUT, by far, killin’ this whole motherhood thing together has been the best.

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We would love to hear if you have experienced something related to our story or if you need prayer.

Leave a comment or touch base on social media.

IG // Facebook 

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October Adoptive Family ::: Matt & Kaylin

My husband, Matt, and I got married in April of 2014 and began trying to grow our family about year later.  We got pregnant in August of 2015 and were excited for what the future held.
Even though we had just found out, we could not keep the excitement to ourselves and we immediately shared the news with our parents, siblings and a few close friends.  I remember going to get my first set of blood work drawn at my OB’s office at around 5 weeks, excited that it was my turn to experience this miracle.  We were so thrilled as this was the next big step in our lives and everything seemed to be falling into place accordingly.  The same day I had my blood work completed was the night we spent six hours in the ER because we were experiencing a chemical pregnancy.  We spent the next few days working up the nerve to inform those who knew that we, in fact, would not be welcoming a sweet baby like we thought. I felt many emotions; sadness, anger, embarrassment and grief – just to name a few. It took us a while to grieve this loss and muster the strength to try again, but almost 6 months later, we felt ready.
We found that we were pregnant again almost a year to the date. We were ecstatic.  This is what we had dreamed and prayed for, but there were a lot of nerves.  We were very cautious due to our previous loss, but after my OB confirmed that my levels were rising, we felt a little bit of ease.  At 8 weeks we had an ultrasound and were able to see our little baby’s heartbeat on the monitor.  Although it didn’t look exactly like a baby yet, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  The more time that passed was a little more weight off our shoulders and the farther we got from 5 weeks, the better we felt.
In October of 2016, we had plans to travel to Disney World with our friends. It was a trip that was planned prior to finding out about our pregnancy and we scheduled our 13 week appointment a few days before leaving.  We were looking forward to being able to not only see our baby’s heartbeat again, but to hear it for the first time.  Our wait time took longer than expected and unfortunately, my husband had a very important work meeting to get to.  I assured him that it was fine if he left and that he would make it to the next appointment.
After they took me back and put the doppler on my belly:
silence.
It took the doctor what seemed like an eternity to determine that there was no heartbeat.  I was alone and was so numb that I couldn’t come up with what words to say. The blob that was hard to previously make out, couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a baby.
He immediately began talking about next steps.  The next few days were a whirlwind of surgery and carrying on with our vacation.  We made the difficult decision to carry on with our plans and felt that it would be nice to get away from our lives at home and deal with our loss elsewhere.  It was helpful to be away from the additional stresses of life, but made it that much harder to settle back into our lives with the knowledge that my womb was empty and we had to find a way to move forward.  The biggest step included God and trusting that His timing is perfect, even though it was not our original plan.  He knows best and we needed to lean on Him to guide us forward.
After another year, we decided to meet with a fertility doctor to determine the cause of our miscarriages and struggle to carry the pregnancies to term.  After months of blood work, various tests and non-invasive fertility drugs, we were told that our best bet of having a successful pregnancy was through IVF.  Prior to this information, we felt a strong calling towards adoption and decided that if we were faced with IVF as the next step, we would pursue adoption instead.
This strong pull was something I like to think of as God’s way of guiding us to the path we were are supposed to be on.  In May of this year, after much praying, we decided to officially take the first step in our adoption journey and signed with Christian Adoption Consultants. We are just finishing up our home study and will be a waiting family before we know it.
Although we came to the decision to adopt by way of infertility, we know that this is what we were called to do and feel confident that God knows our baby and everything will fall into place in His perfect timing.
Our hope is that as we share our story, it will provide a small sense of healing for others who have walked a similar path.  We want other women, couples, and families to know that you are not alone and that God will guide you to where you are meant to be.
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If you would like to donate to support Matt & Kaylin click here. It will take you straight to their donation website. You can follow along on their journey to their baby on IG.
As we journey through this month of raising funds for the Barnett family; please make sure to lift them up in prayer. Also, please pray for all unborn babies, mothers choosing how to best care for their babes, and for every relationship involved.
Thank you again for caring and supporting this family, the ones before, and the ones to come.

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a gift for my husband & for you.

My husband, Dru, is the first person to say he doesn’t want anything or need anything. Always. Without fail. I can tell you his words full of humility and grace before they even come out of his mouth.

I do not think it’s because he doesn’t want anything, I think it’s just that he is satisfied with what he already has been given. His birthday is coming up and he will be the BIG 33! Evie and I wanted to bless him with something out of the ordinary. Something special. Something that he wouldn’t normally ask for. A wooden Jord Watch was the perfect choice.

The even more awesome news is that if you are reading this, you have a chance to win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD website. One person will win, but everyone who enters will receive a code worth $25 once the contest ends. <—- best news ever! Enter to win here!

It is truly the perfect birthday gift, anniversary gift, or a just-because-I-love-you-gift.

You can order a watch like Dru’s here.

You can shop women’s watches here or men’s watches here.

This post is sponsored by Jord, but all thoughts are from my heart to yours.

  Luxury Wooden Watch

September Adoptive Family :: Ashley & Matt

Hey there! Thanks so much for following along here at Cheer To Plan A. We are honored to be able to share our story with you all! We got married pretty young 20 and 22. We had dated for years and had talked about having lots of kids including adopting later in life. Fast forward 10 years into marriage and we were still struggling to find our first pregnancy.

To make things more painful, Ashley had been working at a local crisis pregnancy center for the majority of those 10 years as a patient advocate helping young woman and men with unplanned pregnancies. While she loved helping others it became more difficult for her to work with and be surrounded by pregnant women every day.

We celebrated with friends and family as it seemed everyone around us was getting pregnant. With each passing year this became so difficult and at one point we even started to avoid baby showers and birthday parties for little ones. Honestly we felt like God had forgotten us. We had visited a fertility doctor and after some tests there was a small chance we could have biological babies with IVF. After lots of prayer and research we did not feel that was our road to parenthood. So we waited and waited and waited some more.

During this time of waiting, we moved to a city we loved, connected with our local church, and bought what we considered a home we could see our children growing up in. We thought we would soon fill these empty rooms with children. Nearly three years later we were still waiting. On a whim we sold the house and moved out of the city into a remote piece of large property in the wilderness where we rented a smaller but cozy home.

We had no idea what God had planned for us.

After settling into our new home for about a year we began feeling a stirring growing in both of us to do something more in order to step outside of the norm and seek God for direction and guidance on what to do with our intense desire to become parents.

Then some amazing things began to happen.

We were inspired by a book, a new message series by our pastor at church, and we started a small business with the intention of helping raise money and eventually save for the cost of adoption.

We now see how God had been preparing us for adoption all this time. Adoption was always God’s plan A for us we just didn’t realize it until now. Like many, we thought adoption sounded nice, but would come after we had biological babies.

We never felt released before to adopt or go through infertility treatments. We continued to wait on God which was the hardest and most rewarding thing we have ever done while all the while God was waiting on us. He was waiting for our place of surrender to him. Our hope in sharing our story is that it encourages you in the moments when you feel forgotten and discouraged because let me tell you we’ve been there and it stinks. Well, we are here to let you know God sees you, He hears you, and He loves you.

One of the biggest hurdles we saw with adoption was the expense. We didn’t have thousands upon thousands of dollars to pay for legal fees, adoption services, birth mother expenses, and the home study just to name a few. That’s when we had an idea of starting a business where we could sell handmade crafts and inspirational items in an online store. The idea was that this business would help us in saving for adoption. Before we officially launched the new business we asked some friends of ours out to lunch. We wanted to get their opinion on the business idea, layout and logo we had come up with. They agreed to meet later the following week for lunch but also mentioned they had been waiting for us to take them to lunch. ???

At lunch the next week we explained our situation. We had never discussed our infertility struggle or desire to adopt with them in the past. We also went over the business idea we came up with to accelerate our savings plan for the adoption. They had some great input and a couple tips we hadn’t thought of. They patiently waited until we were done but it was after that where they began to share their hearts. They told us they had been waiting for us to reach out to them and share our desire to adopt. This caught us completely off-guard as the subject had never come up. Next they told us God had placed in them a desire to help with adoption but they had not yet adopted any children. They told us that soon after we met years earlier they knew they would eventually be involved in helping us with an adoption. We are tearing up just writing about this because it’s a reminder of how God was orchestrating so many moving parts all around us when we had no idea. Next they shared how they had been waiting until it was the right time to share this with us and the time was now. They prefaced it with a respect for our desire to fundraise and that this was in no way trying to change any timetable but they continued and shared that God had already provided 100% of the entire adoption cost!!! WHAT! I don’t even remember what was said immediately after. I think we were both in shock.

This would be an amazing story of God’s miraculous provision and timing even if the story ended here but it doesn’t!!!

Shortly after this lunch meeting with our friends our pastor asked us to share our story and of God’s immediate provision on a Sunday morning. We agreed to share what God had done in belief that hearing about this could increase hope and faith for others even though we hadn’t even started the actual adoption process.

On Friday two days before we were scheduled to share at church our pastor received a Facebook message. It went something like this. “Pastor my 17 year old sister is pregnant and believes she is too young to parent and would like to choose adoption for her child. Do you know anyone in your church that is looking to adopt?” Our pastor was shocked at the timing. He quickly replied and said “not only do I know a couple ready to adopt but they are sharing this Sunday at church, come and I will introduce you all.” (Note: In 25 years of ministry our pastor had never received any phone call or message like this.)

We shared our story that Sunday. After service we met the young man who sent the Facebook message and scheduled to meet for lunch the next day.

Later that same evening (about 12:30am) We received a phone call.
Long story short we were invited to the hospital to meet the family that evening. The lunch date for the next day couldn’t wait as the 17 year old birth mom had gone into labor Sunday evening and was already at the hospital. We got dressed rushed out of the house and were at the hospital in less than an hour. We met with the family then we were introduced to the birth mother. A couple hours later when the Doctor was alone with the birth mother she was asked if she
wanted anyone to cut the umbilical cord. Without hesitation she said she wanted Matt to do it. At 6:23 that morning Matt cut the umbilical cord of our first born daughter, Lily Rose. We were even able to fill out the birth certificate and when we left the hospital two days later we left as a family of 3!

Needless to say being Lily’s parents has been the most incredible blessing of our lives! She has filled our lives with more joy and love than we could have imagined. All those years of waiting and heartache melted away as soon as she joined our family!

When Lily turned 2 we felt God was telling us it was time to again look towards adoption to grow our family. We then met with one adoption facilitator and visited one law office when we got another call. We thought could this really happen this quickly again. We had not even signed up or began a birth mother search but here we were being told that nobody else in their system fit what this birth mother was looking for.

Just a couple days later we sat down at a coffee shop with a pregnant young lady who explained why she had chosen adoption for her child and that she was choosing us as the baby’s adoptive parents!

We began the adoption process with this new birth mom and that included paying for most of her living expenses including housing, as she had no source of income and was growing increasingly pregnant. She was pregnant through Christmas and we even visited her and dropped off Christmas gifts for her and her family. Several months pass when we received the most devastating phone call. It was from someone who lived in birth mom’s town (a couple hours drive for us) and they had absolute gut wrenching news. Long story short they basically were calling to inform us that birth mom was no longer pregnant.

At first we wanted to deny it. Surely this person is mistaken, this can’t be true. However, after a couple of attempted phone calls and texts to birth mom were not returned as they normally were we knew something wasn’t right. Weeks later we had a short conversation with her and there were still more questions than answers. She had no plans to continue with the adoption. We can’t describe the feeling of this type of loss but it rocked us. We had recently finished the nursery including new baby furniture, crib, and décor as we were anticipating a delivery date any day and for the first time were given several months to prepare for baby’s arrival. We had even picked out a name as we had ultrasound photos and been told we were having a baby boy. We still haven’t seen the entire picture and we still aren’t totally sure why we went through this terrible loss but something exciting came from this situation.

We have a good friend who has adopted all four of her children. After walking through this failed adoption with us she was really thinking back to one of her birth moms and some of the similar struggles she faced through the process as we did with this birth mom. After a couple years without any contact she searched out and sent a Facebook message to this previous birth mother. She just wanted to thank her for following through with her initial decision to choose adoption as she had just seen how not all birth moms follow through with their decision. It was mid-way through this conversation when the birth mom decided to tell her something. She said, “I’m pregnant.” She followed up with something to the effect of, I don’t want to have an abortion I want to choose adoption. What incredible timing! What if our friend never reached out to her? What if we hadn’t had a failed adoption?

Our friend tried to wait at least a couple of days to give us time to recover from our loss but she couldn’t wait long. She called us up and shared the incredible news. While our friend was no longer adopting she did have a special un-describable love for this unborn child and wanted only the best family for this new baby. We hung up the phone and the next day decided this opportunity wasn’t just a coincidence and just a week or two later we were all on a quick flight to meet birth mom.

That was almost 5 months ago. We’ve been communicating with and helping birth mom out financially ever since. We’ve made multiple visits including two ultrasounds thanks to a local pregnancy clinic in her area. She is aware of our failed adoption and has on more than one occasion helped ease our fear and anxiety by explaining how she would never change her mind.  As of today September 1, 2017 we are just about 6 weeks away from our new baby’s due date. We are beyond excited!!

Thanks for taking the time to read our story. We know God’s story for us is not finished. We went from wondering if God had forgotten us to being completely and overwhelmingly blessed. We now realize how much he truly cares for his children and is constantly working on our behalf. If he can do it for us he can do it for you!!

We hope hearing our struggles, failures, and miracles can help someone who may find themselves in a place they never imagined being.

We truly appreciate all the prayers and support we’ve received from friends, family, fellow adoptive parents, and even strangers. If you’ve ever thought of adoption one thing we can tell you is that if God wants you to adopt he will provide and take you through all your greatest fears and setbacks. Only 3% of all couples who consider adoption ever follow through. Let’s raise that number one adoption at a time whether you help another adoptive couple…or maybe God might just be speaking to you about adoption.

So much love!!

Matt, Ashley, Lily & Baby B Coming soon

Support the Boddorf family here !

Lauren & Jason

Our Plan B is God’s Plan A – This phrase has been our motto while we have traveled through our adoption journey. I am humbled to be able to share our story with you.

February 2016 my husband, Jason, and I became pregnant. Although we were not planning for our sweet little one, we were more than prepared in our lives for this next step. I was apprehensive as I was diagnosed with Lupus Anticoagulant. It is nothing related to Lupus, but it is an antibody found in blood that can cause pregnancy complications. I had known miscarriage would be in my future based on this diagnoses. Little was known about how life would or could be with this antibody, however.

Our first appointment at eight weeks, we hear the heartbeat and see the baby. We were more than ecstatic to be able to see a tiny human moving around in ME! ME! We were referred for a consult to a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (high risk OB) because of the Lupus Anticoagulant. It was a reassuring meeting at twelve weeks. Since I had not had a miscarriage or a still birth prior there was no need for me to be monitored as high risk.

At my sixteen week appointment my OB placed the doppler on my belly and moved it around. A few seconds passed, no heartbeat. My cheery regular OB stated that it may be difficult to hear the heartbeat as the baby may be moving.  A minute had passed, which felt like an eternity and still no heartbeat. We were moved to a room that supplied an ultrasound machine. My doctor squirted the gel on my belly and started with the probe moving it around. She was quiet, I was quiet, my husband was quiet holding my hand. The doctor confirmed our worst fear, there was no heartbeat. Baby was still.

I made it home, unable to comprehend what was happening. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t speak. My baby was no longer alive and I was carrying he or she inside me. My surgery was completed and I woke up with an empty womb.  I would be dishonest if I told you I wasn’t angry. I can tell you I completed the five stages of grief in a continuous circle. I leaned on God more than ever to allow me to make it through the darkest of times. And in those dark moments when I spoke to Him my tears would dry, my sniffles would stop and I felt peace.

We received the pathology results from our sweet little one. We were having a boy and there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. We do not have an explanation for our loss other than it may have been related to Lupus Anticoagulant, but little was explained.

Four weeks post surgery I developed left side pain. Excruciating side pain. Long story short I had bilateral occlusive pulmonary emboli, which means both my lungs were filled with blood clots. I was placed on an injection of heparin known as Lovenox once a day for a duration of six months. My new norm was a once a day injection and chest pain. My clots had blocked blood and oxygen flow inside my lungs. Parts of my lungs had died. I was told lung function may return, it may not. Although lungs are known to regenerate, the oxygen and blood were blocked for so long I most likely have permanent damage and scar tissue.

Fast forward to another four weeks. I was back in the hospital with severe side pain, shortness of breath and unable to sleep lying down due to the pain. They found more clots. I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. So in the most simplest definition, my immune system is attacking itself. Auto means “self”, so literally my body is attacking itself, including my unborn babies. I will have to inject a blood thinner every twelve hours for the remainder of my life.  My diagnoses is not who I am, it is just part of my story.

But HE is good! Because I am here, able to share our story with you!

October 2016 we became pregnant again! This time planned. Due to my circumstances we were high risk. I had an appointment every week with an ultrasound. Jason was at every appointment with me. Week sixteen I knew something was wrong. I was heading into my appointment and Jason was terribly ill with the flu. I would not make him come into the appointment with me, but I was terrified. I had the ultrasound tech always tell me before I opened my eyes if there was a heartbeat at every appointment.

My eyes were shut and I asked the tech if we had a heartbeat and she quickly responded that there was. I opened my eyes with relief and stared at the large flat screen in front of me. Baby did not have heartbeat and baby was still. I was flooded with emotions and sobbed immediately. WHY did this happen again? We did everything right! I did everything so very right!  We lost Holden Grace January 3, 2017.

“He gives me new strength. he guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Psalm 23:3-5

My high risk OB could not tell me what went wrong. Her response was maybe it was “too soon”. She did not explain what the future would hold or how we would have handled the pregnancy differently. I realized at that moment she did not know what to do with me or my condition. I threw myself into research. I have a 30% change of carrying a baby to term and there is the potential risk to me. With the levels of severity associated with Antiphospholipid Syndrome I have the highest tier.

My heart could not handle another loss. I knew it was time to move forward. Through the heartache and heartbreak, adoption gently nudged in my mind. Almost immediately I knew adoption was exactly what was meant for our family. I wouldn’t be honest if I said Jason was as committed as I was initially, but we prayed. And we prayed. AND WE PRAYED SOME MORE!

Adoption is exactly where we are meant to be. I have never felt so much peace with a decision and can only thank HIM for guiding us. With that peace we dove right into the adoption process. I found so many adoptive and waiting families on Instagram. One particular adoptive mama wrote a blog detailing each and every step. Because of her, we signed with Christian Adoption Consultants and began our home study. Thank you to her for her shinning light! I was apprehensive about our home study approval. Would the court not deem me as a fit mother because of my autoimmune condition?

And you know what? God is good! We are home study approved and have been a waiting family since May! My husband and I are immeasurably blessed and waiting for our rainbow. I know HE will bring a perfect baby into our arms. Through the grace of God Our Plan B is HIS Plan A and “we are filled with joy” Psalm 126:3.

We would love any support, prayers and shares of our story! If our story can help one woman, one couple, one family to find peace through the storm it would be an absolute honor.

To financially support Lauren & Jason click here. 

**More opportunities to support Lauren & Jason coming soon here.

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take courage my heart

This song is undoing me these days and putting me back together. I am constantly listening to it when my thoughts seem to get out of control. Turn it up and let the words cover your heart, mind, and body. {lyrics below}

Slow down, take time
Breath in He said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory
And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory!

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing!

He’s in the waiting…

{lyrics by: Kristene DiMarco}

Ellie & Scott : July Adoptive Family

“Jesus Knows.”

A simple phrase I have found myself repeating during the last several years.

Allow me to share part of my story to give you a frame of reference for what that phrase means to me. My husband Scott and I just celebrated 6 years of marriage. In my perfect world, we would already have 2 (maybe 3) kids. We began trying shortly after our 3rd anniversary. I thought I would be just like everyone else and get pregnant quickly. It didn’t take long for me to realize my story wouldn’t be “just like everyone else” — Or that “everyone else” didn’t necessarily have it as easy as I assumed they did.
Infertility was something to which I was previously naive. I never imagined it would be the road on which Scott and I would find ourselves. Months went by with pregnancy tests screaming a big fat NEGATIVE at me. About one year into our journey, we decided it was time to get things checked out. We both dove right into the world of tests, blood work, the dreaded HSG test, and ultrasounds. As we got all of our test results back, we found ourselves in the unexplained infertility category. I never even knew there was such a thing (like I said, naive). Our doctor recommended we try IUI a few times before moving on to more intense treatments. We took some time to pray about it and felt an incredible peace about going the IUI route.

I will never forget getting the call about our first IUI results. I was at work, checking my phone every two minutes, anxiously waiting for my results. The phone rang and my heart sunk into my toes. I anxiously answered, only to hear the nurse say “Ellie, your results were negative. I’m so sorry. Call us when your cycle starts back up and we will do another IUI.” That was it. Months of emotional frenzy had been interrupted by a few short weeks of hope and even for a brief moment, excitement, only to come to a screeching halt with a 13 second phone call. I went into a nearby room, fell on the floor and sobbed. Every emotion you could imagine came out. I was angry, confused, and devastated. Scott was out of town, so I had to break the news to him over the phone. Let me tell you, THAT WAS THE WORST. In that moment, I needed my best friend. I needed him to just bear hug me and let me sob into his shoulder. Well, he was in Texas so that wasn’t possible. We just wept together over the phone. Devastated. In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit say “I see you, Ellie. I am still good, always good.” Jesus knows, friends. Jesus knew that is exactly what I needed in that moment to somehow pick myself up off the floor.

With our second IUI, I felt a little more prepared to receive the results. I remember thinking this could be the most amazing phone call of my life or another call with heart shattering news. Thankfully, I wasn’t working that day. Scott and I were together, the details of this call are more of a blur to me. Once I heard the words “negative,” I was quiet. I hung up the phone, and we just wept. We began asking all of the questions. What went wrong? Everything looked so good on paper. We felt so isolated in that moment, like we were the only ones feeling that pain — right where satan wanted us. I would be lying if I said I didn’t allow myself to unpack and settle into that sadness. I allowed that negative result to control the next few weeks of my life. I sunk into a sadness I had never experienced before. Yet, it is in those moments where Jesus comes in and rescues us. Jesus knows, friends. He met me right where I was in my sadness…right in the middle of my ugly-face crying. I experienced Him like I never had before. After the second failed IUI in January of this year, I knew I couldn’t handle another round of medicine (which literally made me a crazy person) and another potentially failed IUI. My heart couldn’t handle it. Scott and I spent a week praying and seeking God for what was next. We didn’t feel Him leading in any specific direction. We decided to take 3 months and just stop everything. Let me tell you, GAME CHANGER! I called it our sabbatical.

(Side note: If you’re in the middle of your infertility journey, I can’t encourage you enough to take a sabbatical. Pray about the amount of time. Obviously there is no magic number for the length of your break but trust me…the break is necessary. It was for me.)

Taking this break allowed our hearts and minds to shift focus from our infertility and to our Sustainer. The One who had been working all along, behind the scenes, in order to redeem our story. Jesus revealed more of Himself to me in those 3 months, restored my joy, and gave me a renewed hope. During those 3 months, we prayed about what would be next. For us, it was either more fertility treatments or adoption. We have ALWAYS wanted to adopt, but I’m almost embarrassed to say it wasn’t our first option. We just didn’t realize it was God’s first option for us.

Three months had gone by and we didn’t yet have any specific direction in mind, we just were finally at a place where we wanted what God wanted. We began casually researching different agencies around the country to wrap our minds around the adoption process. Our hearts and hands were completely open. We eventually found out about Faithful Adoption Consultants and couldn’t stop reading about them, scouring all of their social media posts, and experiencing overwhelming joy over each picture of a family, matched to a precious baby. We set up our initial phone call with them at the end of April, and prayed for clear answers from God. We hung up from the call, Scott and I looked at each other, and for the first time in a long time, we had tears of joy! Jesus knows.

Here we are 3 months into our adoption process.

Our home study was approved this week.

Our profile book was approved this week.

More than half of our money is raised.

We are only a few weeks out from being active! IS THIS REAL LIFE?

ONLY JESUS, FRIENDS. ONLY JESUS!

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t have fears in this process. I was telling a friend the other day that I feel like the “what if’s” and anxieties of adoption are the same “what if’s” and anxieties I would have if I were able to get pregnant. Anytime those fears creep in, I take a deep breath, say out loud “Jesus knows. He knows.” There is so much power and peace that comes when we say the name of Jesus. So, when those anxieties creep in, speak His beautiful name, out loud! I am excited to watch this journey of adoption unfold. It is so surreal that we are even in this process. Just today, I asked Scott “Has it hit you yet that we are going to have a baby soon?” We both just looked at each other and grinned like little kids on Christmas morning.

Jesus knows exactly where you are.

Jesus knows the tears you cry when you see that negative test.

Jesus knows the fears and anxieties that come along with adoption.

Jesus knows you by name.

Jesus knows every single detail about your body.

Jesus knows your dream is to hear a little one reach out and call you Mommy.

Jesus knows your deepest fears and greatest joys.

Jesus knows every single detail about the beautiful babies He has created just for you.

And you know what?

JESUS KNOWS AND LOVES OUR FLAWED, SINFUL, FEARFUL, ANXIOUS SELVES.

Rest in that today.

Jesus knows!

__________________________________________________

If you would like to support Ellie & Scott, please visit the links below.

www.adopttogether.com/scottandellie  (tax-deductible)

www.youcaring.com/scottandellie (regular)

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never been pregnant and I’m thankful.

Close your eyes and think of something you want so badly. Think about what you would do to make it happen. What would you endure to see it come to pass?

Pregnancy. That was what I wanted to badly. I was in a single-minded-pursuit of that one thing. I wanted to do whatever possible for ME to make that happen. But it never happened. And still hasn’t.

Because it hasn’t happened, I wanted to share a little bit of our backstory so you will know where we’ve been. I think people probably assume we have either experienced miscarriages or been told we will never conceive a biological baby. Neither is true.

I don’t think I have ever written those words on the world wide web which seems odd. Me not conceiving became the catalyst for growth in my faith like I’ve never experienced before.

I’ve never ever seen a positive pregnancy test. Like ever. I have no idea all the emotions that come with those two pink lines staring back at you. I do not know what it is like to sneak around for a few days to plan how to surprise Dru with the news. I do not know what’s it’s like to feel a baby kicking inside my belly. I do not know what it’s like to have to pee every five seconds because a baby is all up on my bladder.

And six years ago this was the only thing on my mind. The desire to have a baby in my belly consumed me. It trapped me every single day. Questions plagued my mind, heart, and body daily.

I am here to say today that our GOD IS BIGGER than the biggest desire of our hearts. He has an even greater plan than the one we’ve dreamed up in our heads. {#shockerIknow}

My Evie girl was the very reason why I had never conceived. What I thought was being withheld from me was actually allowing me to receive the best, most perfect blessing of my life.

These are the questions we continually lay down at Jesus’s feet and really never expect an answer this side of heaven. BUT God. He allowed me to hear words from my birthmother that forever shaped my faith in my God.

She told me in December of 2014, one of the reasons she chose us to be Evie’s parents is because we did not have any children. FRRRRRRIENDS!!!!! Go back and read those words again. No really. Do it.

Do you see that? Do you see that He was in it ALL??? He was there all along!! He was guiding us and NOT withholding. He was preparing. He was aligning our hearts with His most perfect and awesome plan.

Today, I am asking you to maybe not hold so tightly to your plans. Loosen that grip. You’ll never be the same. Promise.

As always, if you have comments or questions, I’m here. Reach out and ask.

So much love for each of you,

KB

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birkeland family update: now what?

it’s been two weeks since we found out that I am not pregnant and I want to share what happened in my heart over the course of last month.

I think I shared in one of the live fb videos I did that I didn’t plan on sharing our journey this time around. I thought that we would just precede with everything and then share when we were finally pregnant. But I was assured my the Holy Spirit that I must share. I had a lot of reservations as to what people’s reactions would be to us taking steps to a biological child now after adopting. And let me just say, those were lies from the enemy that I let my heart believe. Every single comment, text, email, and call I received was supportive and loving. {we have the best support system!!}

As I read each comment, it’s like the Lord was removing every lie I had believed, one by one. I found healing by sharing. I have seen this happen so many times, not sure why I didn’t think it wouldn’t happen this time. Obedience precedes blessings.

During the course of all the meds and such last month, I told Dru that if I’m not pregnant then I am experiencing this and sharing it for someone else. I knew deep down in my spirit that I was not pregnant…. so whoever is in the midst of something out of your control but taking steps of obedience as the Lord leads; I’m here for you. I see you. I get you. please reach out, tell someone of the struggle. Do not do this alone.

Now for what’s next..

I talked with my nurse after the negative pregnancy test to see what they believed would be the next step. Basically, there was nothing abnormal about anything during the cycle, so we would do the same course of treatment. So that’s where we are. We talked last night and I feel peace about not doing an IUI next cycle. That means we would still do the meds/monitoring.

I am not sure when we will start again, but I am gaining more and more peace about what to do. We would love your prayers to surround our family.

specific prayers:

1:: prayers for peace as we make next step decisions.

2:: prayers that Dru and I would continue to grow closer together/our marriage would become even stronger even in the midst of making a lot of decisions/doc appt/meds/the fact that the drugs most definitely alter my moods/emotions 🙂

3:: prayers that when I do become pregnant for a healthy babe & uneventful pregnancy.

4:: prayers for me to use my time and words wisely. also that the Lord would continue to allow me to speak/minister to women in the midst of struggle and waiting.

Thank you {as always} for reading and loving us so well. If you are entering into the world of infertility and/or adoption, I would love to chat with you and help you in anyway I can. shoot me an email {kaileyabirkeland@gmail.com} or come join me over on IG {@kbirkeland}

Much love,

KB

how to love a waiting mama

Mother’s Day has looked different for me every single year for the past nine years. At the beginning of our marriage, there were thoughts of one day having little ones making me homemade gifts with *mommy* written in their precious little handwriting. As we approached year five and still no little loves to call ours, my heart was torn and broken in so many ways.

I was alone…isolated…desperate and dreaded the weeks/days leading up to the day. I did not want to be around anyone on this day + I did not want people to tell me *happy mother’s day* ASSUMING I was a mother + I did not want to look at social media to see all the mamas with their babies. It was all too much.

I want to challenge you {really everyone} to be careful of your words and be so-full-of-grace leading up to Mother’s Day and especially on Mother’s Day. It isn’t a happy day for everyone.

I want to list a few things to think about and then I have a challenge to those of you who I have mama in waiting in your mind right now…

  • let her stay at home give her the space to do so. do not push her to go to church or to lunch or really anywhere. it will just make her heart hurt more.
  • she needs grace. so much grace on this day. I have found that the best thing to do is say *I love you and I am here for you.*
  • lower your expectations of waiting mamas. do not put any of your expectations on her to do or be or act a certain way.
  • her feelings are real. her wanting and desiring a baby that isn’t in her arms is the most real thing to her. she longs to hold that sweet love so badly it hurts sometimes so badly that she doesn’t even want to get out of bed.
  • if you have a close friend/family member that IS a mother but her babies are in heaven… she is still a mother. however you feel lead, tell her Happy Mother’s Day. she is a mother. {in my opinion, the best and most non-invasive way is a simple text.}
  • so to sum it up: waiting mothers need to be affirmed, acknowledged and celebrated on Mother’s Day.

now for the FUN part! I have two ways I want to celebrate waiting mothers.

1)) I am going to be hosting a giveaway for waiting mamas on my Instagram feed this weekend. I am asking you either ARE a waiting mama or you WILL send the gifts TO a waiting mama. So please consider entering!

2)) oh I’m so excited about this. I am going to share links to donate/purchase items in support of adoptions. You will be making it possible for a waiting mama to be ONE step closer to bringing her baby HOME. here are the links! YAY!!

Mullaly Family Adoption

Baby Vargas Adoption

The Guntlisbergen Family Love Story

Salinas Family Adoption Journey 

Schaaps Adopt

Green Family 

Adopting our daughter from India

Matthew and Megan Adopt 

Cooper Family Adoption

so much love to each of you! please let me know if you are going to join us over on Instagram or if you are going to support one of the waiting mamas above.

love,

KB