October Adoptive Family: The Salinas Fam

It is hard to know exactly where to begin to paint the picture of our lives, so much has changed over the past 9 years in ways we never anticipated. The journey has been joyful, handcrafted, redeeming and intentional but in the same time it’s been broken, emotional, raw and brought us to our knees. We have grown, we have stretched uncomfortably, we have changed and been healed from the inside out, and we have found grace in the shadows we were certain were going to be empty forever. This journey has not been easy, growth doesn’t happen in a comfort zone. Would we change it? Absolutely not. We are exactly where we have always been meant to be.. without expectation, in gratitude, in faith, in love, in his grace, and present in the season of the wait.

A Little About Our Life in the Present:

Our names are Miranda and Edward. We are parents to wild child Honor and sweet sweet Baine through domestic private adoptions. They will both be 4 years old this fall/winter, and hands down are the light of our lives. We have open relationships with both of their birth moms and families. We have been married eight years, together 9.5 years. Edward is a Cavalry Scout, active duty army, and recently returned home from deployment. Miranda is an L&D/Peds nurse and a Fertility/Adoption and Empowerment Life Coach helping other families grow their families through pregnancy/birth, fertility services and adoption with our new non-profit organization.

How we came to this place, these views, adoption, some highs & lows?

Our fertility, infertility, and adoption journey officially began as newlyweds 8 years ago, although the seed was planted long before that. We adore being parents and very much want to continue to grow our family. From the beginning, we had always planned on both adopting and having biological children, if able. For us there was no order. We firmly believe that loving a child is a blessing, regardless of how that little one enters our family. We both grew up in families that believed in the value of blending cultures, homes and love and continue to practice those same values in our family. We have always been open to pregnancy, adoption, foster care, embryo adoption, etc.

Growing up, one of Miranda’s sisters became a birth mom in high school and placed her daughter for adoption. Her adoption remained closed for years. That was very difficult for her sister and impacted Miranda’s view on adoption, specifically on the ethics of adoption and honoring biological family ties. In the past few years, Miranda also found out that her siblings were also placed for adoption prior to her being born. Also a closed adoption, her and her siblings have been unable to locate them as of yet, but they are continuing to search. Both of us have friends and extended family that were either adopted, or had chosen to expand their families through adoption and their experiences left a huge impact on us both. Adoption has been woven into our lives since the beginning, even before we came to realize this, and we continue to feel like this is the right choice for our family at this time.

3 years into our journey (now 8 years), hundreds of tests and treatments/needles, procedures and surgeries, multiple specialists and no definitive answers beyond “unexplained infertility;” we were broken, raw, empty and devastated. We have had 6 miscarriages and/or fetal losses for unknown reasons and had been unsuccessful in carrying a pregnancy to term. Miranda knew from her early teenage years that she had stage 4 endometriosis, and then developed adenomyosis as well, but they did not feel that either of those were a significant contributor to the reoccurring pregnancy losses followed by several years of no pregnancies at all. During her last year of nursing school she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and completed treatment. Despite this, all of our testing came back “normal” with no definitive answers and our joint providers did not feel that any of this significantly contributed to the fertility issues.

Around that time Edward was deployed to Afghanistan and so traditional family planning was on hold. During that timeframe, the pull towards adoption kept coming back up for both of us and we felt called to begin that part of our journey next. When he returned home, we were re-stationed to beautiful Alaska and began the adoption journey. Initially, we chose to sign on with a consultant that was recommended by a friend who had adopted with her, but after a brief match/disruption followed by 6 months without any contact from that consultant, we began to expand our search to other agencies/attorneys. To our surprise, we were matched very quickly with our daughter’s birth mother and began this journey. Our daughters adoption then disrupted at 31 weeks when her birth mother decided she wanted to parent, which we supported. Shortly after, we were then matched with our son’s birth mom and began creating a relationship with her. 7 weeks before his due date we received a call from our daughter’s birth mother asking if we would still consider adopting her as well. The story began to unfold with floods of emotions, tears and prayers amongst us all. We ended up parents to our 2 sweet littles, 6 weeks and 2 days apart and navigating the twists and turns of relationships with their birth families post placement. They are family and we remain incredibly grateful for their role in all of our lives.

The following few years were some of the most difficult times in our entire journey. We walked through losses, continued infertility, adoption fraud and 6 disrupted adoptions. While it was a rollercoaster and extremely difficult, we absolutely respect and support a Mamas choice and right to parent their child. We know those sweet babies are where they are meant to be and God wrote us into their stories to love them all well when they needed it most. For us, adoption has never been about what we can gain, but what we can give or how we can support one another. This desire to stand in the spaces we might be able to help fill (temporarily or permanently), is what also led us to foster care licensing. We know there are no guarantees and we are not entitled to anything, we knew that going in. We are here to love big and well as these mamas need it without any expectation of a certain outcome. We are simply trying to walk a path that feels aligned with where we have been called to go and sometimes that can feel scary and unnerving. Adoption is hard and often it hurts, relationships can be complicated, and there is not a perfect or ideal situation. There is however beauty to be found amongst the ashes, if you look within the details and aim to do the best you can for your children and their families.

Over the past 2.5 years, we were presented with the possibility of beginning a new journey to grow our family through embryo adoption, which leads us to today. We hope to spend the next month sharing this part of our story, the process, options, lessons, legalities, family relationships, what it looks like and means for our family, as well as answering your questions along the way. Thank you for joining us here, we look forward to getting to know you all.

With love and gratitude,

Edward, Miranda, Honor, Baine, Baby S, Baby H, Bizun and Cash (family dogs)

September Adoptive Fam :: The Swartz Family

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.” Proverbs 24:12

For nearly a year I felt the nudges and ignored them. I told God exactly where I wanted our lives to go and I was just waiting on him to start the next chapter for us. My mind was so set on the path I envisioned for my family, although the idea of adoption was weighing on my heart daily.

“There’s no way. How can this be in God’s will for our lives? Am I making this up?”

“I’m not strong enough to handle this.”

Those brief whispers of adoption pulled at me and pulled at me until one day those whispers turned into clear shouts. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. The fear of the unknown escaped me and I needed to tell Jeremy. I was terrified. We had been trying for several months to conceive again and here I am, just spoiling our plans out of nowhere. But praise God, he’d been feeling those same nudges too.

So we prayed together. We fasted together. We feasted on the Word together. And we waited together. Our eyes, ears, and hearts were now completely open to the vision being set before us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

2019 is likely to be the year we become a party of 5, just not in the way we originally expected. Adoption is an emotional journey built upon brokenness. We know there’s going to be highs as well as lows. But we are completely confident in the firm foundation we’re standing on as a family. Our hope is to someday tell our precious child that we were filled with faith during this process and how our family and friends loved and prayed for them before they ever knew them. So would you pray for us?

Pray not only for the outcome of our adoption, but that we would remain obedient and trusting to God’s plan no matter what. Pray that we can be good stewards to whatever tools are provided to get us through this. And most importantly, pray for the expectant mom and that she can have the strength to make the best decision for her child. Pray that she can receive the love and guidance, whether through friends, family, or complete strangers to lift her up through this experience. Pray that she knows that she is loved and can see Jesus through our family, given we ever cross paths.

We’re so excited to take you along on this journey with us! And we can’t wait to see what God has in store. We know we’ll be bringing home our sweet baby soon.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory…”  Ephesians 3:20-21

Thank you for the support this month!

Find us fundraising over on Instagram all month long!

Love,

The Swartz Family

August Adoptive Fam :: The Eby Fam

Hey guys! We are so excited and honored to be August’s CTPA feature family! When we applied months ago we never dreamed we’d actually be chosen! So imagine my surprise when I saw an email from Kailey in my inbox a few months back! Our hopes are that through this month, we can share our hearts with you surrounding adoption and be a light to you every day. We call our story, our God story because, well… you will see ☺

Seth and I (Brittany) met at Shepherd University in January of 2010 when we were partnered up in an education class. He was so sweet and innocent and had the most gorgeous green eyes I’d ever seen. I made a big fool out of myself (we joke about this very often in the Eby household). Seth was an outspoken Christian and I claimed to be a Christian, yet lived as if God didn’t exist (cue as to why I said something inappropriate to him 2 minutes after I met him). I was also in a 5 year relationship at that point with someone else.

 And that was the end…until November of 2010 (I was single now) when we reconnected through me telling a little white lie so I could have an excuse to talk to him (this is inside joke #2 that I get picked on about often). It’s like a light bulb clicked and we each thought “I like Seth! I like Brittany!” We officially started dating on December 14, 2010. Our love for each other quickly grew as well as our love for and understanding of Jesus. God brought Seth into my life during a very low point and used him to lead me to Christ.

8 months later, we were camping at Raystown Lake with Seth’s family when he took me out on the lake one evening in his dad’s boat to do our daily devotions together. I don’t remember being suspicious, but hopeful since we’d been discussing marriage for some time. We read our devotional together as normal, but then he read Ephesians 5 to me (it’s all about marriage). I started to get anxious and thought, “maybe this is it!?” Then he read me a poem that he had written just for me. The last line read “It’s your favorite, a princess cut.” He was so nervous he couldn’t even get the box opened! Of course I said yes and couldn’t wait to get back to the campsite to call and tell everyone. We were so excited we even started the guest list that evening ☺ 

We were married 11 months later on July 14, 2012 at the church Seth grew up in. It was a beautiful time of worship and celebrating with family and friends. We have been married for 7 years now and continue to learn more about each other every day. It’s not always easy, because we are opposites, but we complement each other perfectly. Our friends even often refer to us as fire and ice. 

Fast forward almost 2 years later when we started seriously considering trying to conceive. I was all in! I was ready, but Seth was hesitant because he still hadn’t been able to secure a full time teaching position since we graduated college 2 years ago. He wanted to try to have children too, but also wanted to ensure he could provide for us all. It was a battle. He went through a few weeks of serious fasting and prayer and at the end, decided that we would trust God and try to have a baby. Within the next few days, Seth received 4 different requests for interviews! Guys, the very next day after we decided to trust God fully, he lined up teaching interviews! The result of those interviews was Seth securing a full time teaching position…praise God!

 4 months later we found out we were expecting our first child, but there’s a God story here too. I feared I wasn’t getting pregnant sooner because I worked in a very high stress environment. I was a PCA working with children who were very violent and aggressive. I spent my days being verbally and physically assaulted and constantly worrying that if I was pregnant I would lose my child. One day in November, I felt God was calling me to lay down this job, right at that very moment! I knew that if I became pregnant, I wasn’t safe. So I quit! And the very next cycle I was pregnant! Right around the time I quit, I would have conceived! God knew and he protected us.

Greyson Daniel was born on August 10, 2015 (6 days late) at 1:32 am after 2 days of labor. He was perfectly healthy and opened our hearts and minds to a love that we didn’t even know existed this side of Heaven. Today he is a super active, curious, imaginative, rambunctious, very social, almost 4 year old little boy. He loves reading, playing with vehicles, snuggling, wrestling his brother, claiming any living bug or insect as his pet, and playing at the park. 

We knew we wanted children who were about 2 years apart in age, so when Greyson was about 15 months old we started to try to have another baby. 2 cycles later, we were pregnant. We went in for my first appointment at about 11 weeks to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. We were all so excited! After maybe 10 minutes or so of looking with the doppler for the heartbeat with no success, they switched to their ultrasound machine. Still no heartbeat. By this time I’m fearing the worst, but trying to hold it together for Seth and Greyson. They had me go to the bathroom and empty my bladder so they could try an internal ultrasound next. I remember feeling so small while walking to the bathroom and just constantly crying out to God for my unborn child. To please not let me lose my child. For there to be life! I went back in the room and lay on the table, knowing what the midwife and nurses must be thinking. They were preparing for the worst. A few minutes later we heard a sound that must be just as lovely as the voices of angels, our child’s heartbeat! Our child was alive, but seemed to be measuring small, so they ordered an ultrasound at the hospital next door. Thankfully they could fit me in right away. After the longest wait ever, they called us back and began the ultrasound. Our baby was measuring perfectly and right on track! The heartbeat was strong and steady! Thank you Jesus! (Side note: we immediately had to rush to make our appointment to look at a potential home to purchase. We considered cancelling because of the stressful afternoon and knowing we would be late, but didn’t. That home just happens to be the home we live in today!)

Jenson Oliver was born on September 14, 2017 (his due date) at 6:54 am after a very short, but intense, 5 ish hours of active labor. Once again, our hearts expanded to a capacity we didn’t know was possible. All of the fears we had about being able to love him as much as his brother and to love 2 children and share ourselves disappeared the moment we held that baby boy. Today, Jenson is a very shy, smiley, cuddly, funny, and independent almost 2 year old. He loves to do whatever his older brother does, he loves to swing, play with vehicles, play outside, make you laugh, snuggle his doggy, and sleep. Our children are opposites, just like Seth and I are.

We always knew we wanted to adopt and planned to have 2 biological children and then adopt our 3rd child. We announced our adoption plans last October and immediately started fundraising. We completed our homestudy requirements in December and became an active family with CAC in January. Now, we are just waiting to be chosen and matched with an expectant mother. Our hopes are that we will welcome a daughter into our family sometime this year.

Love,

The Eby Family

PS. Remember head over to Instagram to follow all the fundraising efforts!

July Adoptive Family :: The Ingleston Fam

Hey y’all! We are the Ingleston family and we are so glad to have you here in this space with us. Our life as a family has been one crazy, unexpected blessing after another and we’re so honored to share our story with you! Anyone who knows us knows that we’ve always been the ones to “go against the grain.” We are somewhat (super duper, if you ask my mama) impulsive and when we have an idea, we’re ready to make it happen. That has truly set the tone for everything we’ve walked through as a family!Christian and I (Haley) met on Facebook, shout out to Mark Zuckerberg, and then went on our first date in February of 2015. I had just gotten out of a pretty toxic relationship and after that night I decided I wasn’t as ready to date. I needed to take some time to focus on myself. But after a few months, I was ready to move on and start dating again. I quickly reached out to Christian (late May) and he promptly responded with “Hey, I’m actually seeing someone and don’t like to text other women out of respect for her”. He’s always been such a dang gentleman and man was I beating myself up after reading that text. Well, what God has for us can not be stopped because less than two weeks later I got a text from him saying he was single again and asked if I was too. Hallelujah! In June of 2015 we went on what we call our second first date, in October of 2015 we were engaged, and by March of 2017 we were married!

Remember how I said we were impulsive? During our engagement we casually discussed wanting to foster or adopt one day. We were both on the same page, but didn’t know exactly what we would do, when we would get started, or how we would make it happen.

We were young (23 and 24) and had each racked up our fair share of debt that we both brought into our marriage. We were living in a little 1,000 sqft starter home, and I had just started graduate school. 

Three weeks after we got married I saw an advertisement for training classes to become foster parents and four months after that we were licensed foster parents!!!! We didn’t waste any time. November of 2017, 8 months after our wedding, we welcomed our first baby boy through foster care. He was 2 days old and we brought him home from the hospital without a single thing. We didn’t even know his name but he completely stole our hearts. He made us mommy and daddy and changed us in the best of ways. Unfortunately I can’t share much about his story due to confidentiality agreements, but what I can share is that “the system” did him a disservice. After 6 months of raising him as our own and being told adoption was only a matter of time, he was abruptly removed from our home. Our hearts were broken, our world was shaken, and our faith was tested on a level I never imagined possible. We were so broken and hopeless and had no idea what our next steps would be. One night we were lying in bed having a conversation about whether or not we wanted to continue to foster. I was so afraid to go through that pain again and I kept begging Christian to consider domestic infant adoption. For whatever reason, we didn’t feel called to try to conceive but we knew we weren’t done growing our family. After a bit of research (holy expensive) Christian said he just didn’t feel that it was in the cards for us at that time and that God would have to drop something in our laps in order to consider that any time soon. But remember, what God has for us we can’t stop….

TWO DAYS LATER my aunt called. She had met a woman that was homeless and living in a car parked in the parking lot at her job. She had been spending some time talking to her taking her breakfast and one morning she noticed a little “bump”. She asked her if she was pregnant and she said “yes.” My aunt then asked how she could help, if she had any plans for the baby, etc. The woman told her she didn’t know what she was going to do. She was in a tough spot mentally, had no stable living, and there was drugs involved. My aunt told her that we were foster parents and asked if she wanted to talk to me on the phone. I thought this conversation would consist of me telling her how the baby would be sent to a foster home, she would be given a case plan, and how she could work to get the baby back in her custody. Five minutes into the phone call, she stopped me and said “I just want the baby to have a normal life with good parents, will you adopt it?” “YES, absolutely, we would be honored” I quickly replied, then said, “oh wait, I need to call my husband”. 

We had no idea how far along she was, if there had been prenatal care, or what the gender or race of the child would be. We didn’t have a home study sufficient for domestic adoption nor did we have a clue what the process would consist of. Nevertheless, we put our yes on the table and received the sweetest surprise in return. What we thought was about a 6-month bump happened to be an 8.5-month bump. There was zero prenatal care, extensive drug use, and many mental and physical health concerns. All of that combined resulted in some very scary conversations with doctors encouraging my husband and I to “rethink” our decision. Statistically speaking, IF this child was born alive, the quality of life would be less than ideal. But still we pushed forward, dropped to our knees, and had this mama and baby covered in more prayer than you could imagine. May 17, 2018, after 3 days by Mama P’s hospital bed, we welcomed a perfectly HEALTHY baby boy, Elijah Cade! For the two weeks awaiting his birth and the 3 days spent at the hospital, we had the opportunity to love on Mama P and learn a bit about her. Sadly, after that, she decided to go her separate ways meaning we now have a closed adoption with Elijah.At this time we were still active foster parents and had started working towards transitioning a legal risk placement of a 10mo and 2yo boy into our home in hopes of adopting them as well. Again, the system failed them and in July they were moved to another home where they were eventually adopted. After the journey we had experienced in foster care we made the difficult decision to let our license go and no longer foster.

Still, we did not feel called to try to conceive; yet again, we knew we were not done.

October 2018 we announced that we would love to adopt (domestically) again. We had heard when pursuing domestic infant adoption that it was a long hard journey and this is why we decided to get started so quickly. We thought we would probably be blessed with another by the time Elijah was 2 years old or somewhere around that time. To much surprise, we were contacted by our attorney in February of 2019 and told that a mama was interested in getting to know our family. February 26, 2019 we were officially “matched” and on March 26, 2019 we welcomed our precious baby girl, Ava Jaymes. Her first mama helped us name her, loved on her alone in the hospital for the first 24 hours, and is still very involved in our lives. We have a beautiful open adoption with Mama A and are so grateful God gave us the courage to press forward despite all of the reasons why we shouldn’t. 

 

It may not have been the timeline we saw for our lives, but it’s so much greater. Having babies 10 months apart is challenging, no doubt. There are more diapers than I can count, someone’s always crying, and it takes an hour to get out the door, but when I look at the way Ava Jaymes looks up to Elijah or how he thinks kissing her head and giving her her paci is the greatest thing ever, I forget about the sleepless nights and long, hard days. They’re going to be the best of friends and we feel so honored and privileged to be entrusted with their sweet little lives. We really are living the dream!

Love,

The Ingleston Fam

*Be sure to head over to Instagram for all other updates and ways to support this sweet family!

June Adoptive Fam :: the Ceravolo Fam

Hi y’all! We are Paul & Morgan and we are so grateful you are here to learn about our family.
I’ll take ya back to the beginning… we met in 2009 at a mutual friends wedding and it was love at first sight.
We met in June, were in engaged in November and married the following October.
We both come from large families, both of us have 4 siblings. So we knew we wanted a large family and started pretty soon after we married to start a family. We learned early on that growing our family was going to take longer and be more difficult that we had ever imaged. We suffered with infertility and Morgan has endometriosis which can cause extreme pain and other issues, infertility being one of them. After 2 surgeries and multiple tests over the course of a couple years without success, we began to seek the Lord more on what He was calling us to.
Growing up I ( Morgan )had always wanted to adopt, my childhood best friend was adopted and I just assumed that would be part of my story at some point, I just assumed we would have biological children first and then adopt. But God, He knows so much better and even through the pain and unknown He has walked with us every step and I am forever grateful for this life. We started the process to adopt in 2015 and brought out son, Beckham, home that same year and oh what a joy and blessing that was and forever will be.
When Beckham was about 2 years old we felt to urge to grow our family once more. We naturally still had the desire for biological children as well as knowing we wanted to adopt again. We sought the Lord for a while on which path, and decided to try fertility treatments for the first time. After 2 unsuccessful IUI treatments we were broken hearted and turned to the Lord about what to do next.
We knew and KNOW that God has called our family to adopt and we have since decided to give up all extra efforts to conceive outside of a natural miracle from God. We know God has called us to adopt, we feel it is a calling and our true purpose in life, and what a high and honorable calling it is! We believe we will always desire and would love a pregnancy if that would be in God’s plan for our lives.
But at the end of the day we are so blessed and content in where He has us. That brings us to today, we are once again adopting and are officially home study approved and waiting to be matched!! We are so grateful for Kailey and Cheers To Plan A for creating this platform for adoptive families. Adoption is so beautiful and also so hard, in many aspects, financially being one. When we are given a space to allow us to share our story and this community to rally around and support us, I can’t put into words what that means.
We are so grateful to be the June Adoptive Family and are so thankful y’all have taken the time to learn more about our little family and support us through this process.
Blessings!
Paul, Morgan & Beckham 🙂
Don’t forget to head on over to Instagram to support the this awesome fam all month long!

April Adoptive fam :: The Edwards Fam

Hi everyone! We are Ryan and Bethany Edwards. We started the process of an infant domestic adoption in December 2017. We have currently been “active” for seven months, which means we could get matched any day! You are invited to walk alongside us in this journey, because we know that it is only with the support and prayer of those around us that we will ultimately call a baby our own. They say, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes a village to adopt one.
 
When I (Bethany) was eighteen, I was diagnosed with a hormonal abnormality that causes infertility. I had never really thought about adoption; in fact, I hadn’t ever really thought about being a mother before. After grieving the loss of my fertility with close family and friends, I began to think about the implications for my future. I researched the orphan crisis around the world and across the country. I learned that if one family out of every three churches in America adopted a child, there would be no more children in need of families in the United States (Hartford Institute for Religious Research). The more I learned, the more my heart broke for orphans. I couldn’t stand that there are children who think that they aren’t wanted, aren’t loved, aren’t worth it. And as I began to mature, the Lord unveiled another concept: that I myself am adopted (Eph. 1:5-7). So unworthy, so dirty, so poor, so disabled, so sinful… and He picked me. And I wasn’t a “last resort.” He chose me first and chose me forever.
I decided that I wanted to marry someone who wanted to adopt – and not just because I wanted to adopt, but because HE wanted to. On one of our first dates, Ryan told me about a family he met as a camp counselor at Sky Ranch. The family consisted of multiple adopted children, several with special needs. It was through this and similar experiences that he felt the Lord placing adoption on his heart. He shared this with me before he knew that I had any thoughts on adoption. We didn’t know a lot back then, but we knew we each felt a calling. All Christians are instructed to care for the orphan (Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 82:3-4; James 1:27), but Ryan and I are called to adopt the orphan. Individually, and now years later, as one.
 
After we got engaged, Ryan and I visited a doctor who specializes in my specific diagnosis. To our enormous surprise, she informed us that I had been misdiagnosed six years prior. She had no reason to believe that we would have any trouble conceiving. God used an infertility misdiagnosis to open my eyes and heart to my adoption as His child and His desire for me and Ryan to bring an orphan into our home. This new medical news did not change that.
 
Three years ago, we got married. Since then, we’ve been through new jobs, two moves, our first house purchase, two puppies, graduate school, church partnership, ministry leadership, and more laughter than I could have possibly imagined. When we decided that it was time to grow our family, there was no question in our minds that we would pursue an adoption.
 Although our adoption story may not be typical, it has given us a platform to tell our friends and family about the beauty and joy of adoption. We love sharing our story and showing others that adopting a child doesn’t have to be the last resort on the journey toward parenthood. We have already been blessed and encouraged by the adoption community and are excited to be lifelong friends with other families who share the desire to care for the orphan.
 
For an even more intimate picture into our adoption journey, you can head over to my blog at www.EdwardsExpanding.com. You can also check out a video of our story here!
 
Love,
Ryan and Bethany Edwards

March Adoptive Fam:: The Zimmer Fam

Hello friends!!! We are Andrew & Casey Zimmer. We most recently welcomed our son Jude this past February!!! We are overjoyed that we were chosen to share our journey to parenthood with you.  Please read on.

Andrew and I met as freshman in college and began dating in 2007. We were married in 2011 right after graduating. While were dating, we had discussed our mutual desire to have children.  This included having children naturally as well as traditional adoption. We shared a love to be parents and always felt this calling.

[We are engaged October 2010]

 

[Wedded bliss, marrying my best friend June 2011]

In my mind I would get through grad school, Andrew would be working at a good job, we’d buy a house, I’d work for a year, and we would start having kids after that.  I had it all figured out, seemingly.  

Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Andrew had a difficult time finding work while I completed grad school to be a speech-language pathologist. He had a communications degree, making it unclear what he was qualified for.  As my graduation approached, Andrew investigated Master’s programs in hopes of having better success with finding stable work.  I graduated May 2013 and we moved to Boone, NC about 2 months later. So we packed our things, and tearfully said goodbye, and moved 8 hours away.  This was scary and exciting at the same time since we knew no one and would be near more of God’s beautiful creation. I had not secured a job before the move.  We quickly found it difficult for me to find work due to the location and differences in state licensure laws. The pressure was on for me to find work, due to still having to complete a 9-month fellowship.  I prayed and happened to job search in my hometown of Columbus, IN. With no prospects in NC, I went for the interview and got the job. Against our better judgments, I moved back to Columbus, IN and stayed with my parents around March 2014.  

[Ahhh, living 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway was magical, North Carolina 2014]

After much prayer and hearing from God, it was time to start growing our family in May 2014.  We began trying to conceive naturally and estimated it would take a few months to get pregnant.  This was a difficult task considering we lived 8 hours away from each other.  I timed my ovulation and Andrew did a lot of driving. By June 2015, I began going to the OB/GYN to begin some preliminary testing since we had been trying to get pregnant for a year without any success.  I went through a battery of tests, which indicated no contraindications to my fertility health. Now it was Andrew’s turn. He began with a few routine measures and quickly started going to an Urologist. The Urologist completed tests and found his sperm count and quality to be abnormally low.  He started medications. I started a new job at a hospital and we moved to Richmond, IN. Andrew continued to be unemployed following getting his Master’s degree. After being on the medication for some time, tests were repeated and showed little improvements for Andrew’s fertility. Andrew underwent an invasive surgery in January 2016.  After a period of months healing, Andrew goes back on the same medication. He continues to be unemployed. We find our “church home.” We get involved in the young adult small group in March 2016, and finish the Sermon on the Mount study with them. Our next study is a marriage book by Francis Chan. This timing is perfect. We go to our first fertility doctor appointment in July 2016.  Things don’t look that great and the doctor cannot recommend IVF. He delivers this crushing blow: THERE IS LESS THAN A 1% CHANCE THAT YOU WILL HAVE BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN.  How do you swallow and process that?  Remember the “plan” we had early on?

Isaiah 43:2-3a “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

So, we had to have some options, right?  What about Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and other women in the Bible?  The Lord provided the way for them to have children, against all odds. What do we do?  Pray and trust that the Lord will grant us children in His timing.

We know that without a doubt that God can give us a biological child.  For now, God answered in a different way. The Lord laid adoption on our hearts.  

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba Father!”

God adopted all of us and He is our forever family once we confess belief in Christ and turn from our sinful destruction.  Andrew and I quickly begin looking at the process of adoption. We knew adoption was expensive, but didn’t know it was that expensive.  We also come across embryo adoption during this time. Embryo adoption is where families who have gone through IVF have remaining embryos leftover.  They are done building their families and have decided to continue paying for them to be frozen. Families donate their embryos to adoption agencies and are a part of the selection process to help other families build their family.  Once you are matched with a family, the embryos are shipped to your fertility clinic. From there, the woman’s body is prepped with medication. When her cycle has been timed, the embryos are thawed and are inserted into her uterus. The frozen embryo transfer is an outpatient procedure.  The woman then goes home and waits 2 weeks to test for pregnancy. Though the woman carries the child, it is not biologically related to her. The beauty is that this soul is given a chance at life. It is essentially adoption from birth. There are hundreds of thousands of embryos waiting in freezers in the United States alone.  The decision for us came through lots of prayer, tears, and consideration of our finances. We moved forward with an embryo adoption agency in March 2017. Throughout this process, we were very private about our infertility journey. Only a handful of people knew about our struggles.

The paperwork flood begins.  After 10 months of part time work and continued job searching, Andrew started a job at a university in March 2017.  This was a huge answer to prayer. We were now both working full-time, which further demonstrated God’s faithfulness.  

The embryo adoption process is very similar to traditional adoption.  There’s a ton of paperwork, a home study, and it’s very invasive. It often left me bitter and resentful.  No prospective parents had to go through this to deem whether they were fit to be parents. God reminded me over and over again of His goodness. By mid June our home study was completed.  All of our paperwork, reports, and profile books were sent off in July 2017 by God’s grace. We began being much more transparent with our faith family about our infertility journey during this time.  So many people have since come forward with their own stories or shared about families who have been blessed through adoption. We experienced sacred moments of prayer, laying of hands, and an outpouring of love. Our faith family certainly surrounded us and ministered to us during this time.

[Getting creative with our announcement]

By January 2018 we completed the matching phase of our adoption.  We are now the proud owners of 10 embryos thanks to a generous family.  

[Awaiting frozen embryo transfer May 2018]

I eventually started medications to prepare my body, which took roughly 2.5 months.  The procedure itself has a 40% success rate. Our fertility clinic has a policy where they only insert 1 embryo at a time for the procedure.  In late May, I go in for the frozen embryo transfer procedure. One embryo is thawed, looks great, and is transferred. We go home and try to relax.  On June 1st, we receive THE PHONE CALL; blood work confirms it, WE ARE PREGNANT!!!!!

[Our little blastocyst- roughly 5-6 days old]

 

 

[Announcing our pregnancy joy!]

 

[Freezing for maternity photos. We can’t wait to meet you and figure out if you are a boy or girl]

 

[Welcome to the world Jude, the little embryo that could, our miracle boy]

 

[We love you so much! You will never know how loved for and prayed over you have been throughout this process. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME]

We are still pinching ourselves and cannot believe our little man is here.  This boy is fearfully, wonderfully, and beautifully made by God. He has brought so much joy and love to our little family.  His timing is best. We welcome any and all questions you may have concerning embryo adoption. Adoption from birth rocks!!!!!!

Thank you for reading!!! We appreciate all your support!!!!!!

Love,

The Zimmer Family

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

 

February Adoptive Family:: The Fazenbaker Family

Hey, y’all! We are Kelley and Nathaniel Fazenbaker. We are so excited and thankful to be able to share our story. Thank you for following along!

After being married for a couple of years, Nate and I decided in September 2015 we were ready to grow our family. We both knew it could potentially take up to a year for things to happen, so we tried our best to just see where the year would take us and enjoy what could probably be the last several months with just the two of us. We both always dreamed of being parents, and after having several conversations about it, we realized we both feared that we may not be able to. Throughout 2016, we grew closer through our excitement, frustrations, and disappointment. God was preparing us for something even bigger than we could imagine…

In January 2017, while waiting on test results, we began discussing adoption. Even though it had been placed on my heart and had been something I was looking into more and more, Nate was the first one to say, “Maybe this is what we’re meant to do. If we are unable to have biological children, we can become parents through adoption.” Goodness gracious, I could have squeezed him to pieces in that moment! We decided to move forward with our adoption journey before receiving our final test results, knowing we may potentially revisit fertility treatments in the future.

We signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants and began working with our amazing consultant, Leah, on February 1, 2017. Later that month, we received the devastating news that biological children would not be a possibility for us. However, we had such an overwhelming peace about growing our family through adoption, so we dove into completing our home study and became active in May 2017.

Although our wait has been pretty long so far, I truly believe God has done amazing things through it. We made the choice to grow our relationship with each other and with Christ. We joined a wonderful church family a couple of months after going active, and they have been a huge support for us! However, I began struggling with severe anxiety and depression in the fall of 2017. It was a very hard season for me as the weight of everything began hitting me. It seemed like everyone around me was becoming pregnant and growing their families left and right, even accidentally. Those moments were so hard for me and while I had faith that God was in control of our story, I became very frustrated. It took a few deep conversations with friends and some courage to find the help I needed to push through it. That’s not to say I am completely healed from it or overcame those feelings, because there are many days I still struggle. But I believe God has worked on us so much these past two years, and because of it, we will be better parents than we ever would have been before.

We are incredibly thankful for this journey and this community. Our family and friends have been so loving and supportive, and I have met some of my closest friends through the online adoption community. I can lean on them, vent to them, and trust them with all of my thoughts and feelings. We pray for each other constantly. We are so anxious and excited to meet and love the expectant parents and children God has chosen for our family.

Again, thank you for following along, and we appreciate your prayers and support!

Love,

The Fazenbaker Family

PS. remember all the fun is happening over on Instagram!

January Adoptive Family:: The Warren Family

My husband, Kyle, and I met in 2006 in college. We dated and became engaged in 2009.
We had our dream wedding in front of family, friends and God in 2010. Kyle and I have
always wanted to expand our family to include children. We both come from family oriented
backgrounds. We enjoy traveling with our families, going on road trips together and
spending nights at home together. We have gone through many ups and downs throughout
our journey to expand our family.

Beginning in March 2013, Kyle and I decided that it was time to expand our family. After alittle over of year of trying on our own with no success we sought medical advice. We spent
the Summer of 2014 having numerous fertility tests ran which were unable to diagnose the
cause of our infertility. We then expanded our search to a larger hospital which began to
target the cause. In September 2014, we were referred to a nationally renowned fertility
specialist in another larger city. This increased our drive time to our doctor which meant that
we had to take more time off work in order to make it to our appointments. We investigated
the cause of our infertility. We were also referred to another specialist in that same large city
for Kyle’s fertility needs. Kyle had an invasive surgery completed in March 2015. This
surgery kept Kyle out of work for a month but we were still optimistic of our chances to
expand our family.


In the May 2015, we completed our first round of IVF using hormone shots to increase my
egg development. After the retrieval, two embryos were transferred. Following the wait
period and learning to administer intramuscular injections which were used to increase our
success rate, we learned that our first attempt of IVF failed. We were heartbroken but knew
that we had to try again. So we once again met with our fertility specialist who had a plan of
action. This plan was to increase my hormone intake and to add another more potent
hormone. This would increase our success rate. So we began the IVF process again. We
transferred two embryos this time. After the wait period, we finally got the phone call. We
heard those words, “Sara, you are pregnant!!” The tears quickly ran down my face. I didn’t believe my doctor. I responded with, “Are you sure?” She said, “Yes!” We had promised
one another we would not tell anyone. But the news was too overwhelming not to share. We
quickly called our sets of parents and shared the news. Then came the second blood test a
few days later, the phone call that evening was not the same. We were no longer pregnant. As tears once again flowed, my doctor explained that we had been pregnant but it was
called a chemical pregnancy, which meant that the embryo wasn’t strong enough to
continue to grow. We were devastated and didn’t know what to do. We began to take more
time to ourselves, to go on more trips and finally decided to sell our first home together. We
wanted to expand but wanted to take a break from the medical talk, heartbreak, physical
strain of the hormones and injections, mental strain of the medical jargon and the emotional
strain of the up and down emotions.

In the summer of 2016, we decided to start investigating Artificial Insemination with a donor.
After searching this avenue as well, we found that it wasn’t the right way for us to go. We
decided that the idea of the actual pregnancy wasn’t what was important to us. Having a
healthy baby and expanding our family was what was important to us.

We continued to hear of friends adopting babies and began to pray about God’s plan for us. We sold our home and found our new home. It was much larger and ready for an expanded family. It also had a backyard for our dogs and the perfect location for a swing for our future family. We began to have talks about what was next. Kyle said that he felt led toward adoption. I agreed. We decided to get advice from our friends who had been through it. Then we started investigating agencies that would be the right fit for us.

As we started our adoption journey, we have seen God’s light shine on us. We have found
an agency which meets our needs and we feel like family. We completed our initial
homestudy in the Summer of 2017. Then we began working with our agency on our parent
profile book. Our nursery is complete and we pray every day for our little one. Each day, we
both feel God throughout this process was leading us to adoption. We have a wonderful
church family which we found after moving to our new home. We became connected with
our church when we started the adoption journey. There are so many friends of ours
through church who have been through similar situations. We feel the love of God and
prayers from our family and friends daily. Through it all we have become stronger together
with a lot of prayer and family support.

Please continue to pray for our journey!
Love,
Kyle & Sara Warren
#FindingBabyWarren

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!