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.

SaveSave

SaveSave

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)

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave