December Adoptive Family :: The Jordan Family

Hi! We are Blake, Jessica & Ivy! We are living proof that high school sweethearts still exist! We met when Blake was a senior and I {Jessica} was a sophomore in 2002  Blake went on to play college baseball and study Sports Management while I went to college to study Marketing. Our love for one another continued to grow over that 5 year time period and in 2007, Blake proposed to me just 2 months before my college graduation. Over the next year and a half, we planned our wedding and finally said “I Do” in 2009.

Since then our love for one another has continued to grow along with our desire to grow our family. We began trying for a healthy pregnancy on our own in 2010. After a year and no luck, we began seeking answers to our infertility. Over the next two years, we saw several specialists and underwent testing and ultimately were told that we had 0% chance of conceiving without IVF. At that point, we took a step back and prayed that the Lord would show up in a big way. Over the next year we were still unable to conceive and ultimately chose to move forward with a round of IVF in August of 2013.  Just a few short weeks later we learned that it was successful and that we were expecting twins. Unfortunately, over the next 5 months we lost one in October and the other in January.

Over the next few months, we began to pray that the Lord would reveal to us how and if we should grow our family. In September of 2014, God opened our ears and our hearts to pursue adoption. We quickly worked through our home study requirements and became active with an incredible attorney in SC. The years of unanswered prayers and lack of understanding all came to fruition in December when our precious daughter was born and we were chosen by her Birth Mom. We will never forget the moment our attorney called to tell us and that she was already here! On December 22, 2014 we arrived at the hospital and became her parents!

We knew that we would likely adopt again after Ivy was born and began the process in October of 2017. We finished our homestudy in December only to find out in January we were going to be moving for Blake’s job. We went active with our agency in March and worked throughout the summer to get all of our documents updated for our new home. We know that wherever our daughter’s future sibling may be, he or she is worth and wait. We can’t wait to see how the Lord writes this chapter in our family’s story!

Thanks for following along! We are incredibly thankful for our community that has supported us though financial support, prayers and encouragement! We are only about 20% away from our initial fundraising goal and can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to provide this month.

with love,

The Jordans

PS. head over to Instagram to follow along on all our fundraising adventures this month!

 

November Adoptive Family:: The Douglas Family

We are Brian and Heather, and together, with our new daughter, Remi, we make up Team Douglas! We got married on a chilly day in September 2014, after about a year of dating and engagement. As part of the pre-marriage discussions, adoption was always talked about as a way that we wanted to grow our family. Heather had a desire to adopt since she was a teenager, and Brian has two sisters who were adopted, so he had gotten to experience the blessing of adoption in his own family.

The questions about kids came pretty much right after the honeymoon, and Heather always answered that she envisioned starting a family 3–5 years into marriage. Well, a couple years in, and we both felt ready! We decided to try for a biological kiddo first since we weren’t getting any younger, and planned to adopt our second or third kid. Well, as He often does, God had different plans, and after about six months of trying to get pregnant moved both our hearts to seek adoption as Plan A for creating our family.

So we signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants in January 2018, and started the long process of the home study and fundraising. After a few months, our home study was complete, and we were a waiting family.

Around 9:45pm on May 14, after presenting to just two different expectant mamas, we got the call that we had been chosen by a mother in Arizona who was due in October. We were surprised to have been matched so early in the process, and were also a bit shocked by how early in the pregnancy we were matched. We were prepared for a “stork drop” or some other speedy scenario, so to have five months before the baby was even due felt so strange!

Of course, it turned out to be a huge blessing because in July we had the opportunity to go to Arizona to meet the expectant mother, and after a few hours over coffee, knew that God was totally in our match. She was incredible, and we enjoyed writing letters and praying for her specifically over the next couple months.

We headed down to Arizona for a second time at the beginning of September, as mama predicted her labor would go early and fast, and she wanted us to be there for it. After a grueling week and a half of waiting in the Arizona heat, we got the call that mama was in labor, and we got to meet our beautiful daughter at 12:32pm on September 17.

Being there for labor and delivery was an amazing experience, and the weeks we spent in Arizona after the birth, though long, were a gift to get to know Remi’s birth family better. Since being back (just a month!), we’ve loved exchanging texts with Remi’s “tummy mommy” as well as sharing photos via Facebook and celebrating her birthday with her. We cannot wait to see how our relationship continues to unfold and how Remi will get to be loved on by her first family as she grows!

So we got our baby girl just four days after our fourth wedding anniversary… we’d say that’s as close to 3–5 years as you can get! 🙂 And our journey to parenthood was nine months… just instead of morning sickness and stretch marks and labor it was marked by paperwork and fundraising and labor of a different kind. We’re so grateful that this is how God saw fit to write our family’s story. We can’t imagine our family without Remi and her first family, and although adoption is fraught with brokenness and pain, it also holds so much redemption, hope, and sacrificial love.

Thanks for letting us share a bit of our story, and make sure to follow along on Instagram as we fundraise this month! We’re so grateful for the ways God has provided financially and otherwise on this journey, and we’re excited to see Him continue to do so!

Love,

The Douglas Fam

PS. if you would like to read more of our story, check out our blog!

October Adoptive Family :: The Sorenson Family

Hey! We are Aaron and Kristin Sorenson. We are the parents to two little kiddos through adoption, Jonas (2.5 years) and Lany ((Lane-y) 3 months)!

When I (Kristin) grew up, my neighbors had grown their family through adoption. Seeing their family’s openness to adoption was how the Lord first opened my eyes to adoption. When our neighbors adopted their second child, a little girl from China, I was so excited and loved to spend time with her. After this, I can’t remember a time not wanting to adopt when I grew up! I imagined my future with kiddos from different countries, from the US and around the world, and that was just my vision.

When my husband and I got married 6 years ago we weren’t sure how we wanted to grow our family initially. We discussed what we’d “like to do first” (which is funny now!): biological children, adopting domestically or fostering to adopt. At the time we didn’t qualify for any out of country adoptions as we had not been married a year yet! ☺  My husband never was opposed to adopting, initially however, he didn’t have the same heart as I did for it. So we pursued pregnancy in hopes of growing our family that way first. A year and a half later, I was diagnosed with PCOS, which is a fairly common disorder that can cause infertility and was the reason I had been unable to get pregnant naturally. I was not overcome with sorrow at this diagnosis, only because of the vision I had as a child and still had as an adult…. that I wanted to grow my family through adoption…. that’s where my heart was. I wanted to be there for a child that needed a home.

I (Aaron) agreed with this. Hearing the news that Kristin had PCOS was for sure not what we were hoping for but for us it confirmed that adoption was the route to pursue to grow our family. We didn’t really know where to start but thankfully knew another family that had adopted and we followed their path (quite literally as we used the same consultant and funny enough matched through the same agency as them!). We started the adoption process early 2015 and became active with an adoption consultant in October 2015. After that we experienced a number of failed matches. We felt discouraged and heartbroken, wondering if we would ever become parents. I remember when the first failed match occurred, I thought, “No way… I’ve heard of this happening but this can’t be our story.” We were left heartbroken again and again.

We read scripture to bring us courage and really clung to this verse: “I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Psalm 27:13. It’s the verse we have on a letterboard in our house, a reminder that we don’t need to lose heart, we will see God’s goodness.

On May 4th, 2016 I (Kristin) got a call that a boy had been born the day before, and that we were matched with him. He was our son! Tears of joy. I’m getting choked up just typing that. I’ll never forget the swell of my heart and rise of emotions. We couldn’t wait to fly to Florida to meet him!

This is our boy – Jonas. Our little joy bomb and Elmo lover. How did this little 5-pound baby become a 33-pound chunky 2-year-old? We can’t imagine our lives without him.  We would go through all the pain and loss a million times if it meant him in our family and us with him!

When Jonas was a year old we decided we’d like to try to adopt again. This time we decided to go directly through the agency that our consultant matched us with for Jonas’ adoption. We completed a new home study and a few months later we found out we’d be moving to Sweden for a few months for my husband’s job. We were SO excited for the opportunity, as we wanted to go, but also were a bit nervous knowing that we’d be putting our adoption on hold and knew we’d see many opportunities to adopt where we’d have to say “no”. When we were in Sweden we had someone give us a word they believed was from God: “There’s a package on the way.” I wanted to assume this meant a baby was on the way, but when our first adoption held some failed matches etc., I didn’t want to be too hopeful for this adoption to go so smoothly. When we returned to the United States from Sweden we kept thinking about that word and wondering if it would come to in fact be a baby…Was there a baby somewhere growing that would join our family? Yes, in fact there was! Mother’s Day weekend we got the call that we were matched with a little girl due in July, in believe it or not, Florida. Again!! ☺ We were ecstatic and overjoyed at this wonderful news and joyfully shared with our family about the hope of a little girl joining our family! Our daughter Lany was born July 12th, 2018 and she is such a little peanut. Her features are so delicate and petite and the noises and coos she’s starting to make are so soft and sweet. I feel like that is something already so distinct in her demeanor. We are so honored to be a part of her family and so very grateful God allowed us to grow our family through adoption again.

About 2 weeks before this little girl was due, I got an email from Kailey from Cheers to Plan A Adoption that we had been chosen to be the featured family in October and we would be the first featured family that already would have the child with us in our home! We are so thankful for this opportunity to be featured and have been so blessed by it already.   

Adoption is something so complex. Just as our children are so different, their stories are so different, their families are so different, their adoptions are so different….the list goes on! We won’t claim to be experts in adoption, on how to go about it or how to talk about it, but we will say that we feel so completely humbled and HONORED that their birth families and our Father God would allow us to be weaved into their stories. What an incredible, magnificent gift that definitely isn’t lost on us.  

We pray where you are in your journey that as God’s word says…. You wouldn’t lose heart, remembering that you WILL see God’s goodness. Praise Him for that.

Thank you so much for reading our story. Please be sure to hop over to Instagram and follow as we fundraise this month!

Love,

The Sorenson Family

September Adoptive Family :: The Houk Family

We are Kenn and Kari – the Houk family! Kenn and I were introduced in 2015 through a mutual friend and hit it off instantly. Nine months after the day we met, we exchanged wedding vows in front of the Lord, friends and family. The day was beautiful, but our marriage has been even sweeter. One of our greatest desires as a couple was to start a family. We knew that God wanted us to raise a family and disciple our children to love Jesus and others, so we began trying to get pregnant. Looking back, I think we truly believed that it would be easy and would happen quickly.

It took a few months for us to really begin to wonder whether something was wrong. After a year of trying, we decided to make an appointment with a few doctors and things began to unfold for us.  Though it would not be impossible for us to get pregnant, it may require some medical intervention. This news shattered me. I just didn’t understand why God would give me this great desire to be a mother, only to slam on the brakes immediately. But we are learning that God loves to take brokenness and make it beautiful.  He doesn’t just give us what we desire, but He goes far beyond that. He stretches us and teaches our hearts to fear and trust in Him and His work alone. We believe that in His goodness, God called us to pursue Baby Houk through domestic infant adoption.

Because God writes AMAZING stories and does immeasurably more than all that we can ask or even imagine, we were matched with an expectant mother very quickly. We received the call on August 15 and spoke with her a few days afterward.  She is due with a baby boy on December 11, and we are so excited for what lies ahead! This woman has shared her story with us and invited us to be a part of it. She has taught us a lot so far about God’s sovereignty over His children’s lives.

We believe that by pursuing our baby through adoption, it will be about so much more than Kenn and I growing our family. Adoption is a beautiful example of how God can bring hope into a hopeless situation! Though not comparable, our situation and the expectant mother’s situation are both difficult paths to walk through. But God has great plans to work in them, and we can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

We are so grateful to be the September family of the month because we covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters! This journey has stretched us emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our family!

Love,

The Houk Family

PS. Don’t forgot to over on to INSTAGRAM where all the fundraising and sharing happens!!

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.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

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
***********************************
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.

SaveSave

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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++