Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Me

“You are so lucky you can’t get pregnant.”

It was about 6 months after we had received our infertility diagnosis & just a couple months after we had started the adoption process. I was at a BBQ where I hardly knew anyone. Cary was outside & I was inside chatting with a few women who were curious about our decision to adopt. I’d been asked “Why adoption?” & had just finished sharing about our difficulty getting pregnant & my deep desire to be a mother. Although I was extremely excited about our decision to adopt, I was still working through a lot of pain from our infertility diagnosis. She had recently given birth & stood there holding her adorable, tiny, & perfect son as the words came out of her mouth. I remember the pain, anger & shock that coursed through my body as she said those words to me (I realize now she was probably dealing with postpartum blues & just having a hard time adjusting to motherhood). I remember the tears on the drive home. I remember the way my heart hurt that night as I cried into my pillow, “I’m not lucky, I am cursed.”
I remember how that comment shook me to my core & brought me back to a place of vulnerability before the Lord. Through that experience, God continued to challenge my faith, meet my needs & bring healing to my heart.

Today, as I sat quietly rocking our precious Isabel Grace, she snuggled her face into my neck, the words “lucky me” echoed through my mind & heart. My eyes filled with tears as I held my adorable, tiny & perfect daughter & thanked God for His plan for our family. It’s amazing how He took the most painful news of my life, & brought from it the most beautiful blessing of my life… Lucky me.
Photo credit to Elizabeth LaRoche 


Lucky me… He had a better plan that I could ever have imagined.
Lucky me… Our infertility diagnosis led us to consider adoption earlier than we would have ever dreamed
Lucky me… He challenged me to step out in faith as He called us to adopt & then met us EVERY step of the way.
Lucky me… He didn’t leave me alone in my pain, but through it, He taught me much about His character & love. 
Lucky me... I’ve learned what it means to trust Him on a deeper level.
Lucky me… I have seen the Lord work miracles, answer prayers & move mountains for our family.
Lucky me… My view of “what makes a family” has been radically changed, that my heart for life has been deepened, & my passion for adoption has been awakened.
Lucky me… As a result of all Cary & I have been through over the past 2 years, our marriage is stronger, our friendship deeper & our gratitude for our daughter greater than it would have been if growing our family had been as easy as we’d planned for it to be.
Lucky me… Through our infertility diagnosis & adoption journey, the Lord has changed me & refined me.
Lucky me… Every single day I’m deeply aware that our daughter is a gift & motherhood is an honor.
Lucky me… He was faithful to not only answer my prayers, but to answer them in a way that radically changed my life for the better.
Lucky me… The Lord chose me to be the mother of His precious Isabel Grace.
Lucky me... He taught my heart to cry out with joy & confidence, "I’m not cursed, I am blessed."

God has a purpose for every stage of our lives. Through the good & bad, easy & hard, ugly & beautiful, He is enough for us. Even when life is rough, He hasn’t abandoned us. Through my experience, painful trials are an invitation for us to experience tremendous growth in Him. The desire of His heart is for us to know Him & experience His deep love for us in a way that forever changes us. When we allow Him to walk with us through the hard, He changes us for the better… He teaches us to be satisfied in Him, regardless of circumstances.

No matter what stage of life you are in, I hope our journey encourages you to seek the Lord & to rest in His plan.

With Love,

“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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

 “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” ~Psalm 138:3 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy One Month Baby K!

Our sweet Izzy full of Grace is one month old! 

Lessons from Motherhood, Month One:
Love is a priceless gift. 
Life is a beautiful miracle.
Family isn't defined by genetics.
I really can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Raising a tiny human is super wonderful, but definitely exhausting.
Baby cuddles are magical…as is sleep…& showers.
My husband is amazing. Seriously, he really is THE best EVER & I'm thankful for him.
Starbucks mochas are a gift from Heaven.
I'm convinced I have the most beautiful daughter in the world.
Mothers really are modern day super heroes. 
I have a deep need for God's grace every moment of every day. 
No matter how motherhood comes to us, it is a gift.

Isabel, every day with you has been a blessing. Daddy & I have both enjoyed spending so much time with you & learning about how to care for you. You are still so tiny, but you've been filling out & growing like crazy. Your cute cheeks & soft feet are two of my favorite things about you right now. I can't help but give you a million kisses a day ;) You spent the majority of the first 2 weeks of your life asleep. At 18 days old, you seemed to finally come out of your newborn slumber & became really awake & alert during your activity time. You are a calm, peaceful & an easy going baby. You've only had a couple of rough nights, we are really thankful for that. You have beautiful little eyes, right now they still look blue, but some days we think we can see a little brown. We can't wait to see what color they end up being! You are tracking really well with your eyes which is so fun for us. You started grabbing your bottle when you were just a few days old. You have the sweetest little smiles, the most adorable dimples & you look super cute in headbands. I love dressing you up & having little photo shoots with you. You love music. We listen to a lot of Praise Baby & we sing to you every morning & every night. Your main goal in life right now is to break out of your swaddle…good thing daddy has mastered the "super swaddle" ;) You fight it at first, but then most of the time you sleep like a little angel. You are very determined to move a lot during your tummy time. You started turning your head from side to side before you made 3 weeks & I wouldn't be surprised if you start rolling over before long. I love when I get on the other side of you to talk to you during tummy time & you turn your head toward my voice. You have long fingers & love to kick your little feet. Maybe you will play the piano & soccer when you get older ;) You take about one nap a day in your crib & are doing great in your room, but mommy & daddy definitely aren't ready to move you into it yet. Everyone who meets you gushes over how beautiful & perfect you are. You have met everyone in our immediate family now, which is really special for only being 1 month old. Your grandparents absolutely adore you & are always eager to spend time with you. Juno is so sweet & gentle around you; y'all are going to be besties. The most exciting thing that happened for you this month, besides being born, joining our family & moving to Louisiana, was attending your Aunt Lou & Uncle Aaron's beautiful wedding. This weekend, you will be dedicated at church which is really special. My favorite thing in the world is to hold & snuggle with you you while you sleep & daddy's favorite thing is watching you work so hard to move around during your activity time. Words that are most often used to describe you are: perfect, angel, beautiful & peaceful. Even though a big part of my heart wants you to always be this sweet, tiny & new, I'm excited to see you continue to grow, move & learn. You're life is an incredible gift & we love you so much. Happy One Month sweet girl. 

"For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
~Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Welcome Home Isabel!

Meet our daughter, Isabel Grace. 

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." ~Psalm 139:13-16

The past month has been a beautiful, chaotic, wonderful whirlwind. Our hearts are completely captivated by sweet Isabel. God’s perfect plan has continued to amaze us. We have seen so many prayers answered. 
There’s so much I want to share about our experience. I’m hoping to be able to slowly start to write more in the coming weeks. For now, I’m excited to share just a little update with y’all! 

Almost a month ago, this precious angel was born in Georgia. I will never forget the feeling that came over me the moment she was born. Every hard moment, every question, all the disappointment & heartache just fell away as I stood there holding out newborn daughter… My heart was filled with the most intense love, joy & amazement & I knew my life would never be the same… 

Our beautiful girl! 
Photo credit to Elizabeth LaRoche.
Sweet moments after Isabel's birth. I am so thankful we were able to have these priceless moments captured.
 Photo credit to Elizabeth LaRoche.
 Most beautiful day of my life…
Photo credit to Elizabeth LaRoche. 

I wanted to share a little bit about why we chose to name our baby girl Isabel. If you’ve been following our journey, you know that we were matched in November. In early December, we were able to travel to Georgia to meet Isabel’s birth mother & find out in person that she was carrying a baby girl. The experience was absolutely priceless to us. Our hearts were overjoyed & full of love for the baby girl we saw moving around on the ultrasound screen. The question burning in our minds as we drove home from Georgia was, “What is our baby girl’s name!?” None of the names we had previously picked out seemed to fit her. We brainstormed the whole way home & somewhere along the way, Isabel Grace popped up & slowly stole our hearts.  It was important for us to choose a name that honored our daughter’s roots, was beautiful & also significant of our prayer for her life. Even though her name not that different or trendy, we love it & think it suits her story perfectly. Isabel means, “God is my oath/promise” & Grace means, “God’s favor.” Could there be any two phrases that sum up our journey to bring our daughter home any more perfectly than those?!

 I can't wait to see more pictures from Isabel's newborn shoot with Jen Menard.

Our prayer for Isabel is that she would come to know Jesus in a real way at an early age. We pray that the grace of God will shape her life in a beautiful & undeniable way. We hope she will live out the purpose God has for her life in full confidence that He loves her & is always enough for her. We hope that her life would continue to be a powerful testimony to the world of God’s favor & promises. I pray that she would always know how much she is loved & adored by us, her birth family & by God. She is truly perfect & beautiful in every way. 

Our journey in Georgia for Isabel’s birth last month was a highly emotional one. The whole experience was so overwhelming & I am still processing it. It was incredibly beautiful, hard, priceless & exhausting all at once…and like every other part of our journey to bring her home, every second was completely worth it all. There are still moments where I just stare at our beautiful girl, weeping with joy & relief that she is finally here & in my arms… Motherhood is an incredible blessing.  

 Photo credit to Jen Menard.

Every single day, Cary & I are thankful for Isabel’s birth mother. We are so grateful that she chose life for her daughter… Thankful that she carried & loved Isabel the best she could for 9 months… Blessed beyond measure that she allowed us into her life in such an intimate way from beginning to end during Isabel’s birth experience... We are honored, grateful & humbled that she chose to entrust us with her precious daughter... We are parents because she believed her little girl would blossom best under our care…there are no words to describe that honor.  The joy that we experience every day is all because of her brave choice & beautiful sacrifice. Please continue to keep her & her family in your prayers.

Photo credit to Jen Menard.

It’s wild that a year ago this month, we made the decision to start the process of adoption. As I look back over the past 12 months, I am completely amazed at all God has done. I am so thankful that He led us to say yes to adoption & that we embraced this adventure wholeheartedly. Our sweet girl was absolutely worth the wait & everything it took to bring her home. 

Sometimes, in the quiet moments of the day, between the feedings, kisses, diaper changes, swaddling & excessive picture taking, I remember what it was like to only have hope for a child to call my own. Now our beautiful daughter has been here almost a month & the joy she brings to our lives is priceless & powerful. I am brought to my knees with gratitude to God for teaching us so much on this journey, for sustaining us with His strength, for moving mountains for our family…for blessing us with sweet Isabel…His plans are truly good & His favor sweet. I am excited to see what He continues to do in this new stage of our lives.  

Love my little family! 
Pure joy!
Cutest baby girl in the whole wide world :)

We are so thankful for each person who followed along in our journey to bring “Baby K” home. It’s been a blessing to have so many people walking with us through the ups & downs of this great adventure. Thank you all for the prayers, support & encouragement over the past year. Thank you for sharing in our joy this past month & showering our little family with love through your words & prayers. I have been really horrible at keeping up with my messages & emails, so please forgive me if you haven’t heard back from me…I cherish all of your kind words, even when I don’t respond. To those of you who have dropped off meals or gifts, thank you SO much! We are still adjusting to being home & taking care of our little angel, so we really appreciate it. I’m excited to continue to share about our adoption journey & what God is teaching me through motherhood here. Now that Isabel is home, I need to update a few sections on the blog ;) Thanks for continuing to support our family during this beautiful time in our lives.

 Photo credit to Jen Menard.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11 

With love, 
Tyler, Cary & Isabel