Monday, August 25, 2014

Choosing You

These two crazy kids are on my mind today remember them?! 
Giddy with love, brimming with hope & plans, bursting at the seems with passion…I cherish these sweet dating memories! Summer of 2011 was a beautiful summer of love, questions, adventure & commitment. 

My first time visiting Canada :)

3 years ago today, on August 25th 2011, Cary proposed to me. I don't think I've ever felt happier than in the moments documented below. I love reminiscing on such an amazing time in our lives. Such uncontainable joy! 

And then came…our wedding day! Oh happy, long awaited day! :) 
We look so young & full of love, excitement, commitment…Ready to conquer the world & face life together. There's beauty, joy, innocence, love... Gosh, I'm so thankful for these beautiful moments in our love story.

We were optimistic & expectant, head strong & devoted.  We didn't really understand our vows when we made them, but of course no one does! Just like we still don't completely understand them now, even though we do understand them a whole lot better with just 2 years + 4 months under our belt. ;) I believe it would take a lifetime or more to fully comprehend what it means to devote yourself completely to another through life's every circumstance. I'm glad I found such a wonderful man who's committed to figuring it out with me. 
I'm also so thankful for our parents, whose marriages both taught us so much about commitment, sacrifice & real love. And most of all, I'm thankful for Jesus, who gave the ultimate example of love to us, by laying down his life for the church, his beloved bride. 

"Blessed is the one who trusts in The Lord, who confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." 
~Jeremiah 17:7-8 

This was one of the Bible verses that we prayed over our relationship while we were engaged & planning our wedding. I've been thinking about this verse lately & how well it fits our journey.

As we prayed this verse over our upcoming marriage, in those crazy months of wedding planning, little did we know that a drought in the form of infertility would shortly come our way. I'm thankful that God knew. I'm thankful He gave us His scripture to strengthen & prepare us for this unpredictable earthly life. 

Though there have been many hard days & months in our short marriage, there have been far more times of such intense love, commitment & unexplainable joy. Sometimes these moments & days have come naturally, flowing out of our love for one another. Other times, most times, these moments are ours because we choose thembecause we committed to choosing them. We chose them before we were even married or engaged, as we built our foundation on the truth, love & example of Jesus. We chose them as we prepared to enter into a lifelong commitment to one another & to God. We chose them when we said those sacred vows & prayed those binding prayers. We've chosen them throughout the last 2 years, as we battled through a lot of heartache & disappointment. By the grace of God, we chose them & will continue choosing them all the days of our lives. 

I'm so thankful for the stability of our love & for our faith in Jesus for getting us through the low points these past months & years. I know there will be many more trails & dry periods in our life together, but there's no one I'd rather experience them with than you, Cary. I'm both excited & nervous to soon enter into parenthood & this new stage of our marriage together. I'm thankful that we can face the future together, with our marriage rooted deep in the unwavering love of Christ. 

Cary Koch, I'm still overjoyed & grateful that 3 years ago, you asked me to walk through this life with you until the end. And if I could choose again, I'd still choose you. Because to me, that's what love means. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

His Plans are Better

I am a planner. Well, I'm actually more of a control freak, but planner sounds a little bit better to me. ;) Our adoption journey has been super challenging for me for many reasons. One big reason is that there's so much I don't have control over in this process. Deep down, we all know we aren't in control of too much in our lives, but a lot of the time we pretend like we are because life is less scary that way. Even as Christians we often live this; we plan, scheme, control &...oh yeah, we also pray & like totally trust God. 

Infertility & the process of adoption have made me continuously aware that I'm really not in control of my fertility, my family, my life. Diagnoses clear up the illusion of control real quick. I can't control even the most basic things that many women take completely for granted. I don't have control over growing my family, which I always assumed was my God given right. I don't have control over our infertility diagnosis & I can't change or even understand what's going wrong in both of our bodies. I don't have control over what my unborn child is being exposed to or which birth mother will choose us to parent her baby, etc. At times in this journey, this has driven me absolutely crazy. I've been hurt, disappointed, angry, I've felt entitled, confused, jealous & bitter. Thankfully, God doesn't leave me alone in this confusing mess of pain & disappointment. He is showing me so much about His purposes & has used this process to strengthen my faith. He is teaching, loving & humbling me as I walk this journey. He is revealing to me new ways to pray & communicate with Him that have less to do with what I want to happen & more with giving Him the control. I am walking with Him hand in hand through circumstances & trusting He knows best no matter the outcome. 

I have begun to realize that my life is not all about me & His plans are better than my plans. This sounds so clique but I don't say it lightly. It's been a difficult process for me to be able to claim that & mean it; some days I still don't fully believe it. Some days, I'm still tempted to feel cursed & abandoned by God. But God tells me that it's ok to be honest with Him about what I feel & what I'm believing. Acknowledging what I'm feeling helps me separate my messy emotions from His truth. God knows I'm still growing & learning & hurting. He knows my desires, doubts, selfishness & my weaknesses. He knows & still HE is bigger than all of that. He gives me grace on grace. With His grace He blows me away, puts me in my place & lovingly opens my eyes…grace, what a beautiful & undeserved gift to receive from the Creator of the universe.

This process has caused me to seek God, lean on Him & trust in His timing in new ways. He has been with me this whole time & He is helping me piece myself back together. He is helping me to come out of this stronger & wiser & more confident in Him. I am learning that there is hope through suffering. I'm learning that faith can be found & strengthened in the midst of hardship. Cary & I might not ever be healed from our infertility diagnosis, & if we aren't, it doesn't mean that God has abandoned us or that He isn't good. God doesn't always answer our prayers in the way that we want Him too, but that doesn't mean He doesn't love us or that our faith isn't strong enough. 

Through this little bit of suffering I've gone through, I've found that through suffering, there are valuable lessons to be learned, compassion to be found for others, & still joy to be experienced. He is worthy of praise through pain. I've heard these truths all my life, but they have taken on new depths in my heart. His unwavering love is helping me believe that He really is good through any circumstance. He is teaching me these lessons so that I can share about His faithfulness, His love, His plan. I can testify in a new way that God brings beauty from ashes, joy from mourning. He shifts my perspective, He brings purpose to my life, He gives me hope, He never abandons me. 

God has always had a bigger purpose for me than just my plans & my dream of a family. He wants me to know Him & experience His love. He is using my experience to grow, change & deepen my faith & my understanding of who He is. Maybe this journey is all about Him & not so much all about me. God wants the world to know, wants you to know, that He is good, He is enough, He is better.  

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

~Romans 5:3-5

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
~1 Peter 5:10

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
~James 1:2-4
 Thanks for following along in our journey. I hope what you read here encourages you. No matter what the circumstances in your life, God is good & He loves you. He offers peace & hope to those who seek Him. 
As always, thanks so much for the prayers & support! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Launching Our T-Shirt Fundraiser!

We are really excited about finally starting our t-shirt fundraiser!!! 

How this fundraiser works:

We've designed our shirt, set our "minimal shirt sales goal" & launched our online t-shirt fundraiser through a site called Bonfire funds. In order for this fundraiser to be successful, we have to sell at least 50 t-shirts in 3 weeks! As long as we meet this "minimum shirt sales goal", Bonfire prints & ship all shirts directly to our supporters! 

If we are not able to reach our minimum shirt sales goal, our fund ends, no shirts are made, no one is charged & no money is exchanged. If (when!) we do meet our goal, Bonfire will print, ship & charge you for your order. SO, in order to meet our goal, we have to sell at least 50 shirts in 3 weeks! We are hoping to go over & beyond this goal with your help!!! 
Side note: You can also make additional donations to us through Bonfire Funds with or without buying a shirt. But if you are just interested in making a donation to our fundraising, we would recommend donating to our puzzle fundraiser! Link:
Puzzle Fundraiser

Our t-shirt & the meaning behind it:

We love the shirts we designed! Hope you will too! The phrase on our shirts "Love Has No Limits" was inspired by 1 Corinthians 7-8a.

"Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen."

 We believe that God's love for us, his beloved children, has no limits. The love that we have received from Him fuels the love we have for our sweet baby! We're willing to do whatever it takes to bring home Baby K!   

How you can help:

1. Please consider joining our journey by purchasing a t-shirt! 
To view & purchase our t-shirts visit:
-There are 5 t-shirt styles available: unisex, ladies, youth, long sleeved & sweatshirt!

2. We would love for you to share our Bonfire page on your social media outlets & with your friends & family! Spreading the word about this fundraiser is crucial to its success! 

3. Continue to pray for our fundraising efforts! We are confident that God is calling us to adopt & is going to help us bring in the money we need to do so!

We have 3 weeks to reach our goal!!!

Thanks so much for being a part of such an exciting time in our lives!!! 

#TeamBabyK :) 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sweet Love! Photos

You know that cheesy quote, "A picture captures a thousand words"?! Apply it here! :) These gorgeous pictures of us taken by Carolynn Seibert Photography took my breath away! Carolynn, you're wonderful! Thanks for doing such an amazing job of truly "capturing us" during this a special time in our lives. 

Cary, you make me feel beautiful on my best & worst make me laugh like no one else ever could..& you love me the way I've always longed to be loved. So grateful for our life together.

Check out more of Carolynn's beautiful work by visiting 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Flashback Friday! August: A Month of Hope

Hello, August!

Time is flying! Can’t believe we are entering into our third month here in Canada! I can't lie it's been an emotional day & a rough week but we are really excited about the month ahead! We have so many things to celebrate! We get a week off from football, Cary’s parents are coming to visit, we celebrate getting engaged 3 years ago on the 25th, Cary’s golden birthday is on the 28th, & our best friend Allie is coming to visit at the very end of the month! Last but certainly not least, we will hopefully be ACTIVE before this month is over (active meaning ready to present our adoption profile book to birthmothers)!

Another really cool thing about August, is that last year at this time, God started stirring my heart about adoption. Let me tell you a little bit about August of last year…

I remember being in our apartment in Edmonton & finding out we weren’t pregnant again. It was our 7th month of trying to conceive (or TTC as they say on all the online forums-that's a joke). With every negative pregnancy test, I felt my heart shatter a little bit more. I had suspected that something wasn’t right since our 2nd month of trying. I know this “feeling” that I had early on about infertility was from God. I know that might sound a little crazy, & believe me, whenever I voiced this fear & feeling that “something just wasn’t right” to anyone, I was told so. “Keep trying, you’re too stressed, have faith, loosen up, have a few drinks first, try praying these scriptures, try this & this & this…it’s too early to be worried something is wrong, worrying will only decrease the chances, it’ll happen soon, it took this person this long to conceive so there’s no reason to get worked up”, & on & on & on… I know most of these people meant well, & it wouldn’t be fair to blame them for not knowing what to say… but I also can’t say it didn’t hurt to hear over & over again that it was somehow my fault that we weren’t getting pregnant. Whether or not people meant to convey this to me, it was conveyed time & time again. I was angry, hurt, broken & discouraged…& admittedly, nothing anyone said could have made it better. Maybe sometimes, there just aren’t words for a pain so deep.

So anyway, there’s a little peek into how I was doing a year ago. Obviously, I was having a really rough time. Like I said, it was our 7th month of bad news. I remember sitting in our living room that night, battling tears of anger & despair as I told God how hurt & disappointed I was, again. As I sat in the silence, I felt God’s presence draw near to me, & I withdrew from Him, using my pain as a shield… After a few minutes, I let my guard down just a little bit & felt a calmness come over me. His peace really does pass all understand (Philippians 4:7). After a few minutes of quiet silence, I felt a strong push to open my computer & Google “starting the process of adoption”. For the next hour, I read all about the process of adoption. As I was researching, I felt a little glimmer of hope begin to blossom in my broken heart. Again, just like the “feeling” I had received from Him that something wasn’t right with our fertility, I was given a similar “feeling” about the future of our family & His call for us to adopt. We always knew we wanted to adopt, but until last August, it was for me, something we would pursue in the far off future after having a few biological children. I brought the topic of adoption up to Cary & we decided to wait to look into it more seriously. At the time, Cary didn’t think we had a reason to suspect infertility, & therefore thought I was jumping the gun by bringing up adoption so soon. I don’t blame him, poor guy, I was such an emotional mess at the time…He probably thought I was going a bit crazy! ;)

Over the next couple of months, I rarely mentioned the option of adoption to anyone. I mostly kept the topic close to my heart, & believed that God would bring it up again in His time. And He did! It wasn’t until 6 months later, after we’d endured a whole lot more pain, loss & heartache, when God lit the fire in our hearts to seriously & quickly start the process of adoption.

Throughout this journey of infertility & adoption, I’ve continuously battled the lie that God has abandoned me. Have you ever felt like that? The devil uses our pain, disappointment & crushed dreams to deceive us. He presses on those wounds, overwhelming us with the pain of our circumstances, until we start to doubt God’s goodness & love for us. Thankfully, through all of the ups & downs in this journey, God has never forsaken or abandoned me (or you)! He has done everything to remind me that I am His child, beloved & chosen by Him. His character, love & promises have never changed. I don’t have all of the answers, & I don’t always understand His plan….but I am choosing to walk in faith by trusting Him. It’s been a rough 19 months, & I’m still carrying so much of the pain with me, but He is so gentle & patient with me. Letting Him into the broken places of my heart is still a battle, but I know His love and healing are worth it. I have to say that I wouldn’t have made it this far without my loving & faithful husband. When I was drowning in doubt, Cary was standing in faith. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband & his unwavering commitment to me & the Lord.

It’s such a comfort to me to look back to last August, & remember so clearly the moment God revealed a little bit of His plan to me. At a time when my dreams were crushed, He quietly planted a seed for a new dream. Even though it took months for that seed to take root, it’s so encouraging to know that He began “a good work” in my heart this time a year ago & that He will be faithful to “carry it to completion” (Philippians 1:6). So here we are, a whole year later, still waiting & hoping for news of our little Baby…still on an emotional roller coaster ride to start our family…but more confident than ever that He is good, He is with us & He has a plan for our family.

 If you are in a hard place in your life, whether it’s because of infertility, miscarriage, divorce, depression, struggles with your weight, stress in the workplace, loss of someone you love… Whatever you are dealing with, please know that God sees you & He is with you! Even when it feels like He has abandoned you, I promise you He has not. He loves you & He will never leave you or forsake you. He is good & He is trustworthy. Reach out to Him, don’t use your pain as a shield…Let Him in and in the midst of your pain you will find love, healing & hope.

Thanks so much for following our journey! We cherish your prayers!

"One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock." ~Psalm 27:4-5 

"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand,and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." ~Romans 5:2-5

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." ~Romans 12:12

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." ~Zephaniah 3:17

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." ~Romans 15:13