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 little as three weeks to be matched!!

Michael and I met in 2006 in Boston, where we were both only visiting friends and family. I am from Louisiana and he is from Ireland. I went to visit Michael in Ireland in 2006 and stayed for 4 years. We got married and moved back to the states to start our family. We have always talked about adoption and knew that it was something we would one day love to do. Soon after we were married, I began to have numerous miscarriages before learning I have a chromosome disorder that made it hard to carry healthy children. After many years of failed fertility treatments, we had our beautiful twin girls. When the girls were 3 we knew we wanted to expand our family through adoption. We prayed about it constantly. During that time, I was introduced to a Korean family that really got me into Korean culture, food, and TV shows.  We were even planning a family vacation to South Korea as we love to take trips as a family. When planning our trip, I started to read about the Korean adoption program. We immediately knew this is what we were meant to do and started the process in December 2017. We are over the moon with excitement about welcoming a new child into our family and incorporating the Korean culture into our home. Children from Korea are typically 18-14 months old when they come home and we are hopeful that we will take custody in the early part of 2019.

Thank you so much for loving and supporting our family throughout this month. We cannot wait to lock arms with each of you!

Love,

The Canny Family

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 am lucky I did scare him away when on our 4th date, I just randomly blurted out “Hey, would you ever be open to adopting?” The timing hasn’t been what we expected, but it was something that we have always felt a calling towards, way before I ever knew what we would encounter during our journey.

In the spring of 2014, we found out we were pregnant. I was so sick and as much as I disliked my growing relationship with bathrooms everywhere, I always held on to something my doctor said the first time I complained about my constant state nausea “Look at it as a sign that your body is telling you your pregnant”! We spent the summer trying to hide my growing belly at the beach and making big plans for Christmas babies to join our family. On September 16th, after an emergency surgery, we were left with empty arms and broken hearts. I felt like a cruel joke had been played on me as I remain sick for well over a month after the loss of our babies. I remember telling my doctor that he had lied to me, and that now it was just a constant reminder that I was no longer pregnant.

With no true answers and lots of this was a 1 in 100 chance; we were encouraged to try again. We quickly became pregnant again and experienced miscarriages at 12 and 13 weeks. At this point, after lots of prayers and feeling the calling to adopt sooner placed in our hearts, we started the process. We began the paperwork and home study process in the summer of 2015 and were awaiting family by August.

In the fall, I found out I was pregnant after going to the doctor for what I thought was a stomach bug that just wouldn’t go away. This didn’t deter our adoption plans; we were fully ready to remain an active family. The idea of welcome two little ones into our family was a dream comes true. In February, at 17 weeks pregnant, that dream came crashing down, when God gained a beautiful baby girl into His arms instead of ours. At this time, we pursued more medical answers and were advised that my body had taken too many tolls that were now affecting my organs. It was strongly recommended that we not become pregnant again. I struggled a lot during this time. Not over not having the ability to carry a biological baby to term, but with the lack of control, I felt in growing our family.

Up until that point, I had still felt like I was doing something during our “wait”. Now, just being a waiting family, I had a rude awakening in my trust of God’s timing! During this time, I grew so much as a person, but even more in my faith and trust in our Lord. After not being chosen to parent 98 times, we finally got our first yes in January of 2017. We were ecstatic, not only were we matched, but baby boy was being born as we spoke! We quickly bought plane tickets to Georgia, booked a hotel and started packing. After 12 days, our birth mama decided to parent. The weeks that followed were ugly. We will always support our birth mama in her decision to parent, but the lies from our consultant and adoption agency just piled and piled up. Our hearts were left shattered and our trust broken. How do we move past this, it wasn’t just a failed adoption but so much more?

With lots of support from friends and family, we took a huge leap of faith to try again and because active again. Trusting the Lord had us in this entire journey and we just had to hold on for the ride He had in mind for us. A few weeks later we matched again, and again we experienced a failed adoption. Making the decision to continue at this time was hard. We watched many cases come into our inbox, which we just couldn’t pull the trigger on for various reasons, some very legitimate and others more out of fear. The thought of losing more of our life savings, the possibility of more heartbreak and not to mention just the drain all the losses had taken on both us made is almost crazy to even consider trying again. In all honesty, I was ready to call it quits, for the time being, I just need a break from it all, but Chris wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. And then something I will forever say was such a God thing happened, I got a message from a complete stranger that asked if she could talk and pray with us. This amazing soul from literally entirely across the county (Maryland to California) picked up the phone and spent almost an hour and a half offering advice, but mostly listening and praying with me. I got off that call and knew I wasn’t ready to give up. I had a renewed spirit in our calling to adoption.

In fall of 2017, we completely switched gears and became an active family with our caseworker that had completed our home study three years prior. It has turned out to be the best decision possible for our family. If you had asked me in the beginning how we felt about never knowing when we were being presented or matched, much less the idea of a stork drop baby- I think I would have laughed at you and told you no way! In May 2018, the Mighty Families by Adoption organization blessed us as their Spring Grant Awarded Family. While this helped tremendously in getting us closer to whole after all we had lost in our failed adoptions, more than anything it helped heal our hearts toward the adoption community. Some really unprofessional and downright mean things have been said about and to our family and to have others in the community rally behind us and validate that our story mattered -that is something I will be forever grateful for.

It is amazing how much the wait has grown us a couple and individuals. That wait that I thought would swallow my heart whole, it is now just part of everyday life. Those timing questions I had for God, they have turned into trust and joy in this season. Our interactions with first mamas lessened the fear of an open adoption and have grown our hearts for them. This isn’t the journey we every expected, but we are thankful for the growth and lessons we have experienced along the way.

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be sure to go over to Instagram to learn the ways you can support The Freeman Family the whole month of June.

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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celebrating adoption & 31 years of life

hello friends. Kailey here. I am 31 years old today & I am celebrating by sharing 31 families that are raising funds for their adoption.

Please consider donating! Make sure to comment below which family you donated to.

So much love for each of you!

  1. The Green Family
  2. The Ferguson Family
  3. The Frederick Family
  4. The Wright Family
  5. The Marchant Family 
  6. The Voss Family
  7. The Reddick Family
  8. The Vibert Family 
  9. The Cater Family
  10. The Jordan Family
  11. The Dorough Family
  12. The Carolino Family 
  13. The Schapps Family
  14. The Russell Family
  15. The Higley Family
  16. The Halterman Family
  17. The Kirk Family
  18. The Exsted Family
  19. The Barley Family 
  20. The Reese Family
  21. The Lacy Family
  22. The Lucas Family 
  23. The Barnett Family
  24. The Bakke Family 
  25. The Melaniphy Family
  26. The Ezzell Family 
  27. The Carden Family
  28. The Ross Family
  29. The Douglass Family
  30. The Yilk Family
  31. The Gardner Family 

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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2017 Small Shops Christmas Guide

It’s time for our 3rd annual #ShopSmallChristmasGuide … and everyone said, YAY!!! Please consider doing some {or ALL} of your shopping here from this list.  If you are looking for something specific email me & I’ll do my best to help you locate a shop with the items you are looking for.

I love that I can support adoption, mamas working from home, and support women working to improve their life/their family’s life, and the list goes on and on.

If there is an (*) beside the shop, I have personally shopped there. All the other shops were recommended to me by friends on Instagram. Happy shopping, friends!

 

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES for Mommies & Babes

New Every Morning Shop – beautiful prayer bracelets and more.

Duke’s Darling Designs – customized shirts, mugs, hats, tumblers, ornaments, candy jars and MORE!

Truth & Gold – tees for the whole family with messages full of truth!

Three Sisters Handmade – vintage inspired hand tied hair bows.

Honey and Hal – handmade, vintage inspired out of Mobile, AL.

Stylin Sophie – Stylinsophie is an online children’s boutique based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Little Foot Clothing Co – a hip and modern children’s clothing brand.

As The Dear Handmades – accessories for mamas and babes

Turban for Tots – tons and tons of options for headbands, scarves, bows, and even headbands for mommies! {Evie has some and loves them!}

CheekyCheekyBaby – Nicole {the owner} is absolutely precious! She has made a good bit of Evie’s custom onesies. She creates onesies, precious and super soft leggings, adorable shoes. So yeah, just go check it all out.

 

SUPPORTS ADOPTION & ORPHAN CARE

Natalie Brenner Shop – “win, win: support adoption + wear awesome shirts + have pretty prints”

Theresa’s Crochet Shop – Theresa creates precious hats + animals + crochet patterns.

The Knotted Nest – prints + nest necklaces + nest bracelets + more!

Little Lettering Shop – hand letter creations supporting adoptions, go check out my sweet friend’s shop.

*High Street Littles – Evie has mutliple onesies and a precious hand stamped blanket with her name on it. All proceeds from Naomi’s shop go to support their THIRD adoption. Go check out all their products for your babes!

WilderEveLittles – super cute mocs for littles, plus paci clips, and headbands! Evie loves her two mocs from you, Ms. Jana 🙂 Also, if you are an adoptive family and would like to partner with raising funds, make sure to contact her!

Hazel and Holly – modern, unique and comfortable baby clothes & accessories // All proceeds from the shop go towards an adoption fundraiser.

 

JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES

*Swankaroo – THE CUTEST purses, pouches, and backpacks for littles!

The Priceless Collection – women are purchased with coins every night & sold into sex trafficking. We turn these coins into jewelry to set them free {donating 25%}

The Adopt Shoppe – words from the owner, Kate – “I started The Adopt Shoppe out of necessity. My husband, Jason, is a church planter and I am a stay-at-home mom. So we didn’t have money to adopt. Like no money at all. Before I started making things, I looked all over the internet. I wanted to make something different and authentic, as well as uplifting and inspiring to bless women everywhere.”

* Stamps Of Grace – Jessica, the owner, creates beautiful hand stamped jewelry.

APRONS

Towns Carlson – Towns is a precious friend of mine and creates very unique aprons that would be the perfect gift for your mom, aunt or grandmother!

 

BABE THINGS

*Dwell Darlings – the softest loveys and blankets for you little loves.

SwellForever – Brooke, the founder of SwellForever is so passionate about her work. I personally purchased a ForeverBlanket from her. I love love love the personalized tag that I was able to write to Evie. We use the super soft and cozy blanket all the time. This gift is one that lasts and is so special to the one that receives it.

MIXTURE OF GOODIES

The Knotted Nest – prints + nest necklaces + nest bracelets + more!

Jumping Jack Apparel – graphic tees + headbands + art for you & your little {all goodies inspired by the owners son, Jack.}

Little Warrior Nika – wow – just read Nika’s story & you’re gonna want to do that NOW! what an amazing little girl & what a calling the Lord has on her life. go support their shop and help her continue to get the medical care she needs.

 

PRINTS, STATIONARY, BOOKS & DEVOTIONALS

*In Due Time Devotional – 60 day devotional written by one of my precious friends, Caroline. Go grab this devotional and join Caroline as she shares pieces of her own story, including both loss and longing.

Rooted Ink – a sweet friend of mine and her sisters started this shop where they have created prayer journals. I own one and LOVE it. They also offer super cute prints. /// They will also work with families who are needing to raise funds for adoption.

Lotes Love Notes – Mary Cam is my cousin by marriage and is Towns’s sis 🙂 She is the creator of all the watercolor stationary and beautiful prints. She’s so talented and an absolute delight to be around!

Joyful Papery – Emily, the owner, is a personal friend of mine and has the most gracious and beautiful heart. she is majorly talented and a love her creations // go check our her site for beautifully made prints, coffee mugs, greeting cards, word wall hangings and more

 

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Thanks so much for checking all of these shops out. If you have another shop you would like to share, PLEASE email me {CheersToPlanA@gmail.com} or share in the comments but make sure to put the link to the shop.

Much much love!

KB

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November Adoptive Family :: Ashley & J.D.

What an adventure it’s been these last 16 years. I say 16 years and not 8 years, which we’ve been together, because that was when J.D. got in trouble in our 11th grade English class for talking to me too much. Yep, J.D. has always been one to push the limits and I guess I’ve always thought he was handsome, funny and the whole package. I also loved the challenge of (trying) to keep him out of trouble (the innocent kind of course- the kind where he tells a joke in the middle of a serious meeting, but there really is no stopping that).

We began dating in late December 2009 and the excitement has continued ever since. We got engaged on July 1st (Canada Day for trivia peeps) 2011 and married 9 months later on April 21st 2012.  After several years of wonderful memories as a couple, we decided we were having too much fun for just two people to enjoy. So, we started talking about growing the fam.

I remember early on when J.D. asked me how many kids I wanted and when I said 3 he loved that idea but insisted that he wanted to try and have them VERY close together, after discussing HOW close together, the math didn’t work ladies!  He basically wanted them to overlap.  Then he REALLY caught my attention by saying ‘I figure we could have one then adopt one and then see where to go from there.’ ‘Adoption?…’ I replied with a tug at a heart string of adoption since I was young. ‘I don’t know why, but I always thought I would’ he replied having no influence (other than the Lord’s) of adoption in his life. I cried. Then we cried. Then off we were. After a year of nada in the biological kiddo trying, followed by two years of fertility doctors saying ‘we’re not sure why it’s not happening (believe you me they ran enough tests to find out… kidding but not kidding). We tried IUI several times to no avail, when the doctors basically shrugged their shoulders and said ‘We can always do IVF.’ We realized our plan may not be the same as we had thought years earlier.  

The idea of IVF never felt right to us.  My body really didn’t like IUI to begin with.  I ended up in the ER 2x in one week with a complicated migraine, unable to see and forgetfulness and confusion where they thought I was having a stroke, to a ruptured massive ovarian cyst that kept me literally on the floor.  So even more drugs just didn’t feel right.  Before every next big step in our journey we had committed to pray before we made a decision.  This time we knew prayer was our next step.  We felt that God was telling us to take a pause and to “Be still” while He worked.   It was quite beautiful that God place all of this at the time of 21 days of prayer in our church. We faithfully prayed over what God had in store for us as our next step, whether it be IVF, adoption, or to pause and continue be still.  It was Day 9 of prayer and J.D. and I started our morning like every other, listening to the devotional and then going in different directions to pray.  I like to go outside and sit on the floor and he stays near his seat.  On the walk back to J.D. the song “Good Good Father” came on, you see, this song had played almost every time I was worried or feeling stuck.  We like to think, that “Good Good Father” was like a “God wink” as if He was telling us “relax my children, I’ve got this.”   I continued my walk back to and J.D. gave me a huge hug while the song was still playing and excitedly asked me to look at his Bible.  He was pointing to Mark 9:36.

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them. Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.

I can’t find the words to describe the peace that came over me in that moment. I cried, J.D. cried and while others were continuing to sing “Good Good Father” in the auditorium around us we knew that God had just told us our next step, and that we would have Him to walk with us through the entire process.   

We’ve felt called to talk about our story from the beginning to share the good parts, the not-so-good parts and the beautiful parts in between. So, feel free to ask away.  We don’t want fear to hold anyone back.  

Since we have begun our adoption journey we have found that our friends and family are the best support system that God has orchestrated. We like to call it our Village- and we believe what they say It Takes a Village so we are so grateful that every single one of you are a part of it. We couldn’t do this without our Vibert Village.  

We love that adoption was in both of our plans before we even seriously thought about growing our family, but we are so thankful that God has shown us that adoption was God’s plan A for our story.

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Please go follow along with Cheers To Plan A on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with ways to support the Viberts for the month of November!

As always, thanks to each of you for supporting the families every single month! We couldn’t do it without you guys!

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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.

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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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