Thursday, February 27, 2014

Love Always Wins

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9) 

About a year ago is when Brian and I both felt the tug on our hearts to adopt again. 
As both of us separately began praying about this adoption, 
the Lord showed up.
He spoke the same word to us both over this next adoption process: 
Love Always Wins 

It was crazy the day we both sat down and looked in each others eyes and said,
 "the Lord has spoken to me about this adoption...
I believe our word over this adoption is love always wins." 
Surprisingly, we were not totally flabbergasted by having heard the same word. 
We both kind of nodded in agreement and went on our way. 
The further we moved on in the process, the more confirmed we felt about this word. 
Love always wins. 

About halfway through our (long) paperwork process, 
we decided on a scripture over this adoption...
" In Love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves" (Ephesians 1:5-6).

I tell you all of this to set the scene for a story that unfolded recently in our lives. 
It's one I long to tell in full detail, but it's not just my story to tell.
Some of the details will be muddy, as I need to protect all those involved. 
But here goes nothing...

The heart of adoption is runs deep, and it does crazy things for love. 
Our story starts on a Friday:
Friday morning we receive a call...
Long story short: there is a sweet woman who is considering adoption for her newly born baby. 
We were asked if there is any way we can help....
Rubber meets the road. 
The day continued on with lots of phone calls:
 to agencies, lawyers, crisis pregnancy centers, hospitals...
lots of phone calls. 
We also offered up our information as a potential while she considered all of her options. 

Friday evening rolls around, and we receive a phone call. 
This lovely woman would like to meet us and get to know us....
we make the drive and spend the full day getting to know this incredible woman. 
Sometimes life is hard. 
Through some poor choices and a lot of brokenness in the world, 
we can find ourselves in a crisis situation.
This is where this woman was. 
A place of crisis. 

We went in to all of this with open hands.... 
In fact, throughout the next 48 hours,
 my husband and I would make eye contact 
and with no words  would simply open up our hands to heaven.
We did this to simply remember that we have open hands with the Lord. 
This sweet baby was His, 
and we had full confidence that He had the answers this mom needed. 

We spent Saturday and Sunday loving on this beautiful woman. 
The more we learned about her the more we fell in love with her. 
She is an amazing woman of incredible courage and strength, 
who has endured more in her short life than any person should have to in a lifetime. 
24 of those hours, we had the privilege of caring for this sweet baby. 
I cared for the baby through the night and made a decision to love fully, 
not allowing any gap of love in her first days as her mom had to return to work. 
I cherish that time I was given to love, kiss on, and pray for this sweet little gift. 
We literally spent hours snuggling and gazing into each others eyes...
and I interceded for her, prayed over her, made sure she knew how loved she is. 

Sunday, both Brian and I felt that the Holy Spirit was leading us
to leave and give her some space to reprocess.
This courageous woman wanted to do the very best for her child,
and at this point in the game, she felt like adoption was her only hope for the best.  
We felt the Lord nudging us to open the door for his love to pour out. 
We left letting her know that whichever decision she made we were for her. 
We would walk the distance with her and love her through life. 
We adopted her as family. 

We promised to return,
 and we fully trusted the Lord to reveal himself to her in a way she had never experienced before. 
I left with her my bible as a sealed guarantee that we weren't going anywhere 
and that we supported whatever decision she made. 

Monday morning, after a tumultuous night,
 she was very confused and unsure of the right decision. 
I am not going to lie. It was a hard day. 
We simply waited... 
waited for the Lord to show up. 
Open Hands. 
We knew, no matter which decision she made...
love always wins. 
There was no loss in this story. 

Then, our faithful God showed up. 
He revealed himself to her in a dream and gave her a very clear picture of where he was taking her. 
Monday late afternoon she text us and told us of her final decision. 
This incredible, courageous mother decided to parent...
because God showed up in her dream. 

We were so thankful to have an answer...
Our hearts ached because when you love without abandon, 
sometimes love in painful. 
The story does not end here though. 

She asked to meet with us Tuesday morning before being discharged. 
Tuesday morning we drove to the hospital 
and spent some of the holiest moments I have ever experienced. 

That morning as we shared the gospel, 
she gave her life to Jesus for the first time. 
She received grace, mercy, and love in her time of need, 
and she knew God had found her. 
A God whose grace is enough...
A God who sees our sin no more...
A God of new beginnings. 

After giving her heart to Jesus, 
we had the opportunity to bring a close or I should say beginning to this epic story. 
We told her the story of the prodigal son: Luke 15:11-32
God receives us with open arms, 
and He clothes us in his best for a new beginning. 

As we wrapped up the story of the prodigal son, 
we walked out and grabbed the goods. 
The night before my amazing family went out and bought everything she needed to get started; 
a car seat, diaper bag, baby bed, clothing, diaper, wipes, etc. 
Tears streamed down her face as she saw the full force of God's love 
walking into her hospital room.
A new story began...

You see in our worst moments.
God is faithful. 
He meets us, 
and he Loves.

What does love look like?
It looks like something...
Love looks like you.
Love looks like me.

Love says yes. 
Love without abandon is bittersweet. 
Adoption is love. 
We choose love
Love Always Wins. 

1 Corinthians 13: 8 "Love never fails" 

P.s. We have had the honor of keeping contact with this incredible woman, and we even got to visit her this past weekend. We consider it a great honor to walk out life with her from here on out. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Baby Dean #2 Update

Hi friends. 
An update is in order. 
I keep coming back to a blank page and feeling a bit  overwhelmed at the prospect of even attempting to update, but I will give it my best shot. 

First off. I would like to answer some questions and make it clear as to what we are doing and why.

Why Adoption?

Adoption is the heart of God. 
The new testament is drenched in the heart of adoption, 
as we are adopted ourselves into the family of God. 
Adoption is a physical representation of God's heart. 
Living out our first adoption with Eliana has only increased our understanding of
our own adoption into the family of God. 
We as a family feel called to adopt.

Now, I understand that these waters can seem a bit muddy for some people. 
I have found that there has been a misconception that people ONLY adopt because they're infertile.
 Adoption can be seen as a solution to infertility. 
The idea of this actually is quite bothersome to me. 
The reality is that both Brian and I are infertile.
 For us, finding out this news from the doctor simply confirmed our calling. 
We had already felt the calling of God upon our lives to adopt. 
Adoption does not "fix"our barrenness. 
It simply is an instrument of God's glory:
A way that God has used our story of ashes and woven beauty into it. 
Even if God chooses to open my barren womb, 
we would still choose adoption as a part of our story. 
Infertility has been a gentle confirmation of God's calling. 

With adoption, two broken stories collide and by God's grace something beautiful emerges. 

Why domestic Infant Adoption?

Did you know there are nearly 153,00,000 orphans worldwide?

The Numbers

  • Total estimated number of orphans worldwide:  153 million
  • Estimated number that have lost only their mother: 34.5 million
  • Estimated number that have lost only their father: 101 million
  • Estimated number of “double orphans”:  17.8 million 
    (Source:  U.S. Government “5th Annual Report to Congress on Public Law 109-95 and affirmed byUNICEF)
  • Number of caring adults it takes to make a life-long difference for an orphan:  1

As Brian and I prayerfully considered all the types of adoption, 
we were continually drawn to domestic infant adoption. 

There are many types of adoption out there, and all are vital!
The reality is that there is a need for families for children across the board. 
Internationally, there are children in orphanages waiting for a family to call their own. 
Domestically, there are about 104,000 children waiting in the foster care system eligible for adoption and waiting for families. ( ). 
There are over 600,000 embryos frozen in the United States 
and there is domestic infant adoption.
All of these avenues of adoption desperately need people who are willing to say yes... 
Yes to go or yes to support. 

Daily women in the United States find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation, 
an unplanned pregnancy.
These women are faced then with the decision to keep or abort the baby. 
Domestic Infant Adoption provides an opportunity for a mother to choose life for her baby. 
We have found through our own adoption experiences that 
we have the opportunity to be a source of hope to mothers who are in this crisis situation in their lives.

Brian and I have a huge heart for these women, 
and we consider it a great honor to have an opportunity to love them with the love of Christ and offer hope in a hopeless situation.
Eliana's birth mom is family to us. 
"He sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:6). 
When we adopt an infant through open adoption, we are adopting a larger extended family as well.
We become the answer to one another's prayers. 

SO...this is the route we are taking this time to grow our family. 

Who are we adopting through?

We are adopting through an agency in California called Nightlight Christian Adoptions. 
We chose this particular agency because we love their heart. 
They love birth moms. 
They love open adoption, 
and they love Jesus. 
We love that expectant parents are counseled before, during, and after their pregnancy. 
We love that they are committed to finding families for babies not babies for families. 

Where are we in the process?

We have just completed our home study process. 
What is a home study?
Home studies are part of the lengthy process that is required to become an adoptive parent. 
In a nutshell....
LOTS and LOTS of paperwork. 
Lots of Reading. 
Lots of Writing. 
Lots of footwork. 
Home studies are required in order to legally complete an adoption in the United States. 
The goal is mainly to ensure that children are being placed in safe, healthy homes. 

At the beginning of April, we plan to become an active family. 
This simply means that we will be available for an expectant parent to choose us. 
We have created a profile and expectant parent letter that birth parents look at.
From there, an expectant parent can choose to meet us and potentially choose us 
to parent their child. 

Each adoption is different, and we have no idea how baby dean will come into our family. 
We could find out the day of...
We could find out months in advance and have the opportunity to develop a relationship with an expectant parent beforehand...
We could wait for days, weeks, months, or years. 
We don't know.
Adoption is a wild ride. 

Nonetheless, we move forward in faith. 
We are confident in our calling, and we are willing to walk out what love looks like. 
We are so very thankful to be an instrument of God's love and hope. 
May HE receive all the glory, honor, and praise for our story.

To be continued...

Stay tuned to hear our word over this adoption, hear some crazy God stories, and to watch God provide in BIG ways.