Zemma

I’m so thrilled to share this beautiful family’s story on the blog today.  It’s so full of hope and the glory of God.  I hope you are encouraged and your faith is renewed as you read.  Enjoy precious Zemma’s adoption story:

We serve an awesome God who is faithful and always keeps his promises. A God who has a plan for each of us and will direct us down that path if we just listen. A God whose timing is always perfect. Nearly a year ago, God spoke a promise directly to my heart, and He faithfully kept that promise. My husband, Travis, and I had decided we were ready to have another baby. Our plan was to have a baby when our son, Kaleb, was about 3. A couple of months prior to Kaleb’s third birthday, Travis had an accident while lifting weights that left him paralyzed from the hips down. We had to figure out what our “new normal” looked like after his accident and it took two years to really get back to the point where we felt like we were ready to grow our family. We started infertility treatments in April 2018. We were hopeful, but I had a feeling this was not the way we were going to have our baby. We had two unsuccessful rounds of IUI and got the news in August that more biological kids weren’t in our future. If we had received that news a few months earlier, I would have been absolutely devastated and frankly, really angry. But God had already prepared my heart to receive that news. In July, I was reading an infertility devotion. Travis and Kaleb were asleep and the house was quiet. During my quiet time with God, I heard the word “adoption” and it shook me to the core. I had heard the voice of God, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that adoption was in our future. From that instant, the path to our baby completely changed course.

I don’t know much but I do know when God speaks, I need to listen. So I prayed and researched. And researched. And prayed. I made spreadsheets of questions for potential agencies. I made an Adoption Pinterest board. I called and spoke to agencies. Nothing felt “right.” Then a google search, by no coincidence, took me to Christian Adoption Consultants’ website. I read their mission statement, and it lined up completely with what I was looking for. I was reading about the consultants and found one from Kentucky, my home state. I emailed Karalee the same email that I felt like I had typed out 50 times. She got right back with me. It didn’t take long to know I had found the person who was going to help us bring our baby home. We signed our contract with CAC on October 12, 2018 and started the home study and fundraising process! Karalee helped us find a home study agency, and we signed up that week. It took only a couple of days to get the application finished and back to them. Travis had the wonderful idea to make and sell wooden nativity blocks. The support from the community and our friends was overwhelming. We sold so many more than I ever imagined. On January 25, our home study was finalized, and we were officially a waiting family! I was going out of town to a Christian women’s conference that day where I had very limited cell service, so Karalee had Travis’s number in case she needed to get in touch with us. She sent us a case that very afternoon about an expectant mom who was due May 17 with a baby girl!  It was the second time she had been sent profiles and had been looking for a match for over a month already. We decided to present. Travis literally picked our profile book up directly from the printer and overnighted it to the agency. The expectant mother, Ashley, looked at our profile and decided she wanted to talk to us the next week. Travis came home early from work that day and we sat in his car in the parking lot of my office and spoke to Ashley. The conversation flowed easily and we were able to find common ground quickly. We waited all weekend (Travis much more patiently than me) and found out we were matched on Tuesday, February 12. It was a whirlwind to say the least. I feel compelled to add that I don’t think we are more blessed or better parents than anyone else who is waiting to be matched. God’s timing is awesome, mysterious, and unpredictable and it was God’s timing for it to work out that quickly. We continued to speak with Ashley when she could call us.  It was hard not hearing from her, especially if we were expecting her to call. I would start thinking that she had changed her mind but then remembered to keep the faith and that God had guided our path to this point and we just had to keep listening to Him.

We had the opportunity to meet with Ashley, her 13 month old daughter, and her mother about a month before the baby was due. We spent a couple of days getting to know each other and bonding. She was so open and honest. She even let me feel the baby kicking! Ashley is truly an incredible person. Her daughter fell asleep in my arms within an hour of us meeting and Ashley said she rarely let unfamiliar people hold her. It was a very special moment that I will always remember. We got to discuss her birth plan and what our open adoption would look like. Ashley and I had so much more in common than we ever realized. We also realized how much our stories lined up. We signed with CAC around the same time she found out she was expecting. She decided to make an adoption plan the exact day we started fundraising. There were so many places where our paths could have diverged and never crossed. But God led us to each other. God’s plans are perfect. I thank Him every day for bringing us together.

Travis and I spent the next month preparing for baby. We continued to speak with Ashley on the phone.  We found out during the last week of April that she was probably going to be induced May 3. We both cleared our work schedules starting May 1. We were going to drive down on May 1, clean the house we rented on Thursday, and be ready for whenever the induction was scheduled. We thought we might even have time to relax on the beach for a day or two. But again, God’s plans are better!  I was still at work on April 30 and got a text saying “Kaley, they are inducing me tonight!” After a moment of feeling completely overwhelmed, we kicked into high gear. We were home from work, packed, and on the road to Florida in record time! We drove all night and made it to the hospital about 3 hours before Ashley’s labor started. We had a little time to rest in the room the hospital so graciously provided for us, but I couldn’t sleep! Zemma was born in the early afternoon of May 1. Ashley let me be in the room for the birth and to cut the umbilical cord! I was completely overcome with emotion from the first second I saw Zemma. I knew that she was created to be my daughter. Ashley was so gracious and generous about sharing Zemma with us. She was open and reassuring, but I was honestly a nervous wreck. In hindsight, I am so glad that Ashley got that time to be with Zemma. She was discharged before us, so after a tearful and emotional goodbye, we were moved to the pediatric floor. It was on a higher floor than the post partum unit we had been staying on and the new room had a view of the city. Before we could even unload our bags from the cart, Travis called me over to the window. Right outside the hospital was a full and beautiful rainbow. Tears streamed down my face as I realized we finally officially had our baby girl and God was right there reminding us of his awesome power and faithfulness. God keeps His promises. And His plans are so much better than ours could ever be.

Chatham