Josh and Bethany’s Story

I have the most gorgeous post for you today.  Bethany and Josh have an incredible family and were a true joy not just to work with but to get to know.   They were so faithful and so open to God’s voice during their process.  I have no better words than Bethany’s, so enjoy the grace, wisdom, and beauty below:

In the first few weeks of our relationship Josh and I discussed what we wanted in life. We knew we wanted children and we both wanted to adopt. We envisioned us having a large family and being busy well into our years raising our children, a mix of biological and adopted. We married 8 months after our first date. We just knew God had set us apart for one another.

In the same way we knew God had called us to adopt. It was inevitable but we weren’t sure how He would bring it about. We ended up very quickly adding our first three children, life was full and busy but we still knew we would adopt. The time finally came 2011 that we felt the push to start moving forward. After some research we chose foster adoption. Early in 2012 we began classes and homestudy paperwork. Shortly after becoming Foster-care certified we were placed with a precious newborn baby girl. She stole our hearts but after four months we had to hand her back into an unstable situation. It was the hardest time of our lives. Then over the coming years we had to watch that situation crumble, unable to prevent it. We knew after that God was moving us forward & out of foster adoption.

In 2013 we made efforts to have another child but learned it wouldn’t be an option for us any longer. We grieved. We were confused, broken and still knew God had another child for us. I think until this point in our lives we hadn’t really had to fight hard for things. God used our adoption journey to grow us spiritually. We had to learn to trust Him and not the circumstances. We learned to not only hear His voice but To cling to His word. Slowly as 2014 moved forward we began to feel an urgency to get started on this ever present desire to adopt. We knew we wanted to adopt an infant, it became apparent Domestic adoption would be the path for us. It took a leap of faith to dive in because of the expense. It seemed impossible but also we knew we had to follow the call. So in October of 2014, we announced that we were adopting and began to fundraise.


Fast forward to March if 2015, we contacted Christian Adoption Consultants and were connected with Karalee Alvey. She helped us find an agency, encouraged us as we continued to raise funds and eventually she even got to do our home study visits! She was a ray of light in the overwhelming process.

By October of 2015 we were finally homestudy ready and began applying to situations. Straight out of the gate we felt moved to apply to a situation with an already born baby girl who had special needs. We weren’t chosen but we new then that our hearts were prepared for more special medical needs than we originally thought. We updated our homestudy. A couple weeks later there was another little girl with major medical concerns and we wholeheartedly pursued her but again we weren’t chosen. There were a few other situations that didn’t work out and in December we were already feeling a bit hopeless and broken. After ten or so “not chosen” emails we heard about a tiny baby girl with Down syndrome waiting for a family in Florida. All of a sudden we knew. We were called to adopt a baby with Down syndrome. Our souls were so hopeful and sure that this was our girl! We updated our homestudy again and waited to hear that we had been chosen only to find out again we weren’t. That time it hurt worse. It felt personal. It felt like God had forgotten us or like we weren’t hearing Him right. Maybe this wasn’t what He wanted for us. But there was always an undeniable push to keep moving forward. So we did. We knew, knew, knew that we would adopt a baby with Down syndrome at this point. Our spirits would thrill in a unexplainable way every time the situation came through with a baby who had Down syndrome. There was one family that we spoke to and they came so close to choosing us. It was so strange to feel so sure and so unfulfilled at the same time. Looking back it makes so much sense but in the moment we felt so alone. We were so scared and so desperate. Some thirty plus situations later we were gearing up for another week and received a little email from Karalee.

“Hey guys!

Where do you all stand with presentations right now?  ”

“Russian baby boy born about a week ago”

“Baby is still in hospital but is projected to get out in a week or two.”

Just the highlights.

We jumped. No hesitation. It was a whirlwind of emails and phone calls.

Tuesday our profile was given to the birth parents. Wednesday we knew the lawyer would be speaking with them about us. We sat on our patio trying to soak up the idea that we might find out any moment that we were chosen when my cell phone rang. I answered thinking she would be telling us their decision but instead she said ” I have the birth parents right here, they want to speak with you and Josh”

I will endlessly be grateful for the grace God poured out on me in this moment. There was no time for me to think and over think. I won’t tell the details of that conversation other than that my heart fell in love with them and it broke for them. I could hear the love they had for their son.

We weren’t sure after the phone call. They spoke to us like we were chosen. But no one officially said so. We went about our day hopeful but unsure. After phone calls were getting serious we finally just asked if this was it! Are we chosen? We were sitting in a waiting room. People around us could here these conversations about the legal stuff and when to travel and finally…”yes! You guys are it! You are exactly who they want.”

Those words. Our son. All of a sudden it was just how fast can we get to our son. I couldn’t bear the thought of him in the hospital without us.

We told the kids. We announced to all of our family. We packed our bags and Thursday night we sat in the van in the driveway as a family of five for the last time and we prayed.


Friday, about 16 hours later, we arrived at our destination. Saturday would be our placement day. We took the kids to the beach. We settled in to our temporary home. Our friend/sister in law flew down to help with the big Kid’s during placement incase that was needed. We didn’t know for sure if we would get to meet the birth parents or how placement would happen. Saturday we took the kids to the beach again to kill some time. I remember being in the beach, it was so calm that day and just feeling a peace.


Time passed and we hadn’t heard from the lawyer so we were a bit concerned. Finally around noon we got a call saying they were being discharged from the hospital and heading to the office. We headed home to wait.

It was such a slow wait. We stayed excited and at peace for the most part but as it began to get late we had to face the reality that things could still go very differently than we were hoping. But honestly the Lord just covered us in his Grace because I don’t know how we weren’t in a panic by 5pm!

Then this text came saying they were done and headed to the house. They sent a couple pictures.  We saw him for the first time. We were so excited. So anxious to meet him, hold him.

The car pulled up and until that point I assumed we would wait inside and let her bring him to us but I couldn’t stand it. With no shoes on I rushed to the car door. All I could think was that I had to get to him. I didn’t want our son to have another moment without us. I got to the door and there he was!

I felt the same amazement as I have with all my babies at how tiny he was, how perfect and beautiful. We got him out of the car in a borrowed car seat and got him inside. We headed to the living room and as quickly as was humanly possible to remove a tiny human from a big bulky car seat I did. Oh my goodness he was tiny and so warm. He was just perfect. He was perfect. He was perfect. That’s all my head could think. Of course everyone wanted a chance to hold him. He was here and he was in our arms and he was perfect. It all felt so surreal.


And suddenly every struggle, every penny, every no and every heart broken cry to the Lord made sense. He had David Ruslan Jones perfectly chosen to place in our family. It’s taken me a year to even touch the surface of processing our adoption. David feels as much apart of me as any of my three biological children. Some days I grieve that he wasn’t born from my womb because I sometimes forget that he wasn’t. Lots of days I cannot fathom the loss his birth family has suffered in not knowing him. I feel so thankful to them and proud of them for fighting to do what they felt best for him…even when it hurt them. I grieve for David that he won’t know his birth family. I pray constantly that these things will change. That our closed adoption may become at least semi open. I pray for healing in his birth parents and in him and even in Josh and I.

But most days we are just utterly happy and completely in love. Blissfully living everyday in awe of this amazing little boy we get to call our son. We marvel at his strength and his tenacity. We are blown away by God’s perfect plan for him and for us as a family.


We were able to head home just shy of two weeks. We finalized the adoption in October of 2016. It was beautiful.


David will be 17 months soon! He is amazing. Though he has had many medical complications he somehow overcomes and continues to blast through his milestones. We are so proud of him. He is loved by two families. One in the shadows and one as clearly as the sun shines. Our lives have been so full and blessed by his precious life. We are daily praising God for the plan he set forth in our family. We will forever be grateful to his birth parents.


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Heart Wisdom from Mamas

I have the loveliest post for you today!  So many of my very favorite mamas via adoption  have volunteered to open their hearts to help support those of you who are still “in the wait.” Here is some encouragement to help you get through the days when waiting is the hardest:

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“Try to keep an open heart and open mind.  Looking back, I can’t imagine not having an open adoption. The bond I was able to form with our daughter’s birth mom is indescribable. The hurt, love, and compassion I felt for her was just as strong as the love I had for my new little girl. Not only did we get a daughter in this process, we got a whole new birth family that we still are in touch with 4.5 years later. So, if it any point throughout this process you don’t feel like you are strong enough, I promise you, you are… you got this mama!” -Brittany

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To those considering adoption: God didn’t tell us to adopt by writing it on the wall- it was gentle whispers and softened hearts.  One thing I came to realize is that it’s hard to go wrong in choosing adoption. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” God’s heart beats for adoption.
To those waiting: we had many fears along the way but we didn’t have to face them all at once. As we trusted God, that he was leading us down this path, he helped us to overcome each fear as it came up. The first time we got a “no” after presenting, a social worker encouraged us saying, “No one can get the baby that God intends for your family”. To witness a woman placing her baby, not because she wants to, but because she is making a sacrifice to give her child a better life is very humbling.” -Courtney

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After two adoptions in the past four years I can honestly say that I’m still learning. I’m not quite on the “other side” yet but I have been taught one lesson through adoption over and over….And that is that hard does not equal bad. Hard does not equal lack of faith. Hard does not mean that God is not working. There is so much beauty and grace in the hard but you have to hold on because you can’t see it until there’s room to look back. There is so much beauty. It’s there in the wait and in the disappointments and it will take your breath away when you hold it in your arms.” -Tabitha

Take a deep breath and surrender ALL expectations to God. We agonized over the process, how it would look, what it would be like, the no’s we got, the no’s we gave. Expanding our preferences when we realized God would never give us the ‘wrong’ baby. The expectations of what the hospital would be like….it is human nature to set expectations and fill in all of unknowns with the ideal. It will never be perfect BUT the process is imperfectly beautiful. It doesn’t matter how much notice you have in your match, or whether you have a third party at the hospital…nothing can prepare your heart. Be open minded and keep an open heart.” -Carli

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I think I over analyzed too much – which is really just a waste of time, and for me it just distracted me from God’s plan. I worried that birth mothers wouldn’t like us, or like our profile but wouldn’t like us after meeting us. God’s plan is real, it’s the best thing ever, and all we have to do is wait for His timing.” -Heather

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Know that God’s got this, even when it’s so hard not to give up. There were times in the seven and a half years of waiting, infertility treatment, and miscarriages when we doubted God’s love and timing. But then “boom” it all happened in one incredible week! God meticulously planned out every detail surrounding our daughter’s whirlwind adoption. It made everything we went through make sense. I would also say be prepared for the mix of emotions at placement and as you grow your relationship with your child’s birth family. Adoption is both joy and loss wrapped up together for everyone involved. It has taught me so much about love, compassion, flexibility, and overcoming the fear of the unknown.” -Bethany

I’ll just throw in my old saying: adoption is so, so, so hard until one day it’s not. We’ve adopted twice and had extraordinarily different experiences with each one, but they both ended the same way: a precious, perfect baby at great expense to another woman. It is a crazy mix of conflicting and confusing emotions until one day you are home and your son or daughter is just your son or daughter. Adoption heals broken things, broken places, and broken people.  God is good and because adoption heals and because every time, in every case, it is so, so hard until it is not.” -Katherine

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I think the biggest lessons through both of our adoptions were (1) checking my control freak nature at the door (God is in charge) (2) recognizing that no two situations or paths are the same (3) taking other people’s advice and commentary as their attempt to help not hurt (even though their words often hurt) (4) admitting to yourself how far you can push yourself emotionally (we all have limits) and (5) accepting that it’s not a matter of IF you will be a parent, but a matter of WHEN! -Jennifer

Not until I surrendered my desires to God and said “not my will but yours” did things begin to fall into action. He opened my eyes and heart throughout the years preparing me for the children he had planned for my family all along…When we did hear our yes, it was worth every moment of waiting.  I can look back through my life and praise God for his perfect timing.” -Ashley

I love every word these amazing mamas shared from their beautiful hearts.  Adoption is so hard, until it’s not. And it’s worth every single second. It’s about giving up our own timelines and our own control and trusting God’s timing.  It’s the ultimate in redemption – beauty from ashes.  Our kids’ birth moms are absolute heroes, and the relationships we get to build with them are truly one of life’s great gifts.  Thank you, all who shared.  I pray if you’re reading and currently waiting that you know you’re held in your fellow adoptive mamas’ hearts and prayers.

 

Little Firecrackers

Hope you enjoyed a beautiful and fun 4th!  I loved seeing so many sweet babies decked out in their patriotic finest, so I thought I’d compile a group to share here.  Enjoy these little miracles celebrating America’s independence. 🙂

Perfect Timing

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Every single adoption story is amazing and is full of twists and turns that we look back on and marvel over.  Every step we take, even the ones that hurt, leads us to the baby meant for us.  Never have I seen that play out more clearly than with Irene and Nate’s story. In a matter of  hours, they went from heart-break to sheer elation. The selfless love they poured out not only to their daughter’s birth family but to a birth family they got attached to and bonded with who ended up choosing to parent has moved me more than I can express.  It’s a true example of unconditional love and the desire, not just to become parents, but to love the very best way they could. Enjoy their journey to their precious Aubriella:

Our  home study and profile were completed in April. We applied to a few different agencies starting in May, and then had our first match within 6 months. I remember getting that email asking if we would be available for a phone interview. We were extremely nervous. The agency provided us with the contact information and the date and time of when we should call. On November 8th, we made the phone call and spoke with the birth mom.  The conversation went really well.  A week later we were told that we were officially matched with a baby girl due at the end of February.

In mid-December, we planned a trip  to visit with the birth family. Our first visit was meeting for breakfast, followed by going to the beach, and then going to their ultrasound appointment. It was neat to see the pictures both in 3D and 4D as well as listen to the heartbeat. We were given pictures and DVD to take home with us.

After we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with our family and friends, we started getting the baby room ready. We continued to remain in contact with the birth mom throughout. In mid-January, I started to get a sense that something didn’t seem right.  I  got a message from the birth mom stating that she decided that she wasn’t going to go through with the adoption plan after all. Our hearts were completely crushed as we had the room almost ready and were prepared to bring a baby girl home next month. I immediately emailed the agency to tell them what happened. The day after, the agency called us with another case where the birth mother decided at the last minute she wanted to make an adoption plan for her daughter who was born just last week. . This birth mother wanted a family who loves the outdoors, travels, and pets. The agency told the birth mother that we were that family and after looking at our profile, she picked us immediately. This happened  just days after we got news that the original birth mother wasn’t going to go through with her adoption plan.  We packed up our bags Friday night, bought a car seat, and started our drive the next day.

On January 30th, we headed to the adoption agency and met our daughter’s birth mother for the first time. It was good to meet them and they were so glad they picked us. Then they brought the baby in and we all saw her for the first time. The birth mother didn’t want to see the baby at the hospital so this was the first time she saw her as well. It was definitely an emotional moment to share with her.

God definitely had a plan. If our original birth mother hadn’t chosen to parent, we would have missed out on this amazing opportunity. Our daughter is perfect in every way. In that same week, we went from extreme heartache to pure joy all in a matter of days. We are so excited to start this new journey as parents now. We are so proud to introduce  Aubriella Kay, born on 1/23/2017 and adopted into our hearts on 1/30/2017.

Crazily enough, we learned while we were in Florida that our original expectant mom had delivered her baby 4.5 weeks early. It was our intent to go see her while we were in FL to return the ultrasound pictures as it wouldn’t feel right to keep them. Her baby was in the NICU, so we met at the hospital to return the pictures and to also meet her baby. We brought some baby gifts as well since they didn’t have a lot of baby things on hand. It was a good way to bring peace and closure to the situation. We are happy for them that they were able to find a way to keep their family together.  We also met with Aubriella’s birth parents again right before we left and took pictures of them holding her. We will forever treasure that moment.

We are enjoying our time with sweet Aubriella and can’t believe how the events unfolded. I would have never guessed this would have been the ending to our story.  It’s amazing to see God’s hand in this and to realize this is actually just the beginning.

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Happy New Year!

This year has brought blessings beyond anything I could have imagined – both personally with the addition of our third little miracle via adoption – and professionally.  Christian Adoption Consultants completed 206 placements in 2016.  206! I can’t tell you how honored I am to have been a part of those placements and what a privilege is has been to walk alongside my families during their adoption process.  I can never, ever express in words how much it means to me.  To celebrate last year and to kick off another great year, I’d love to share some of the sweetest faces of all time. Just looking at this group makes my heart want to burst. Here are just a few of my little CAC pals (and their parents aren’t so bad either 😉 ) who want to wish you a happy and healthy 2017 that is full of blessings!

Finally Final

Following the birth in August of the third baby welcomed to our family via adoption, I’m so reflective about the adoption process from not just a professional standpoint, but from a personal one.  As I reflect on different parts of the adoption process, I have a few families who would like to share stories with you about their adoption finalization.  Finalization happens weeks to months after a child is placed in your home.  After post-placement visits and legal filings – it’s the moment a judge declares what you’ve known in your heart since the second you met your little one – he or she is your child.  They are the same legally, emotionally, spiritually as a child born to you biologically.  Enjoy a few beautiful  reflections from some of my families and friends:

We’re in WI and finalized here. My husband and I both had to testify which was really moving and I cried. My brother was our attorney and my parents came to court with us. It was amazing. -Emily

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Ours was over the phone but my dad was a notary and was able to swear us in, which was very special. I let out a huge breathe that I didn’t even realize I was holding for the 90 some days since she had been born. It was such a special day. – Brittany

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Ours was over a Web conference so we could see a court representative (not the judge). It was 9am in FL and 8am in NE. We went to a place that specializes in Web conferences and they had the information for the court to connect to them. We walked in, a notary swore us in, a friend was there to photograph the finalization for us, we answered the judges questions and it was over. I’m sure that it was over in 10 minutes. We all went to breakfast afterwards! The twins were born 10.28.13, NICU and ICPC for a month, home on 11.28.13, Finalization on 7.2.14. – Karen and Joe

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We live in WI and our finalization took place in UT. We were fortunate that the lawyer set it up that he represented us and we didn’t have to travel. I honestly kinda wish we would’ve been there now as it would’ve been amazing to hear the judge say Hannah was ours. But we knew the time of the finalization hearing and it was only 10 min or so later that we got the call and the lawyer said “Congrats!! It’s a girl!” I’ll never forget getting off the phone and Mark and I hugging with Hannah squished between us. That was July 3, 2012 and we had a huge party on the Fourth of July to celebrate. The Fourth of July will always be extra celebrating for us. -Tammy

Ours was over the phone, too, at our insurance agent’s office.  It was nice to have it officially official and our attorney sent a nice photo to us if our judge holding our son’s photo in the court room. We just did a dinner out at a local restaurant with immediate family that night to celebrate!
We also went to Build A Bear and created a teddy bear to commemorate the day. The bear has 3 hearts – 2 for us as Q’s parents and his biological family and 1 for him in a different pattern. The bear now wears the outfit that Q wore during the finalization hearing! – Lindsay

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Congratulations, sweet family!

I have the most beautiful little girl to show you today!  Look at this face!! I can’t even.

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What a perfect time to share a little bit from this family’s heart.  November is National Adoption Month – one of my very favorite things to celebrate!  We asked them three questions about their own adoption experience, and here are their responses:

How has adoption impacted your family in a special way?
It has been so special to watch our 3 boys fall in love with their new baby sister in the same way they would if she was biological.  It is a beautiful picture of how God lovingly adopts us into his family.  It brings new meaning to that whole concept.
What would you tell someone considering the adoption process?
Do it!  Maybe adoption isn’t for everyone, but I believe it is for more than are doing it.  In James 1:27 it says, “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  We had many fears, but God helped us to work through each fear as it came along.
How do you feel about your child’s birthparents?
We were terrified to meet them but had a very special time with them.  We were moved and humbled by the sacrifice of the birth mom.  She clearly loved her baby but wanted the best for her.  She didn’t want her baby to suffer for poor decisions she had made.  We respect her so much and hope to stay in contact with her.
We’ll continue to share special stories straight from our families throughout the month.  Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for daily updates!