Monday, November 30, 2015

National Adoption Month

It's been amazing & emotional reflecting back on our journey over the past few weeks in honor of National Adoption Month. Thanks to all of you who have followed along with our posts this month & over the past year & a half! We appreciate the kind & encouraging words, support & prayers that have been given to our family throughout this journey. I hope my posts touch, encourage & educate. I loved connecting more with others touched by adoption & will continue to use this blog to share my heart on the crazy, hard, beautiful parts of the process.


I just want to say one more thing before National Adoption Month ends: If you have an interest in adoption, explore it. Ask questions, pray, do your research... God might be planting a seed in your heart. 

In August of 2013, a few months before we even received our infertility diagnosis & 8 months before we started the adoption process, I found myself googling "How to adopt an infant." God was moving my heart towards adoption at that time, when I thought I would be years before we would consider adopting. 

Adoption has changed our hearts & lives forever...I am so grateful for Isabel & so hopeful for what God will continue to do. We would appreciate your prayers over our next adoption journey, especially for joy, wisdom & provision as we prepare. 

We will continue to keep y'all updated with adoption #2 progress. We cannot start the official paperwork until we raise a significant amount of funds. We re-opened our Etsy shop this month. All proceeds from the shop benefit our next adoption. We've got a great response so far & are so grateful for each person who has shopped! :)  

We will be offering many ways for our community to support our new adoption adventure over the coming months. Tomorrow we will be launching our first fundraiser, "Team Cut or Team Grow" to officially kick off our fundraising. Details coming tomorrow! For more information on how to support us, visit the "Support Us" tab at the top of the blog. 
Even though our circumstances seem to be shouting, "there's no way to make this happen", we believe God is calling us to adopt again, so we have faith He will make a way.  

If you have questions about how to get started with adoption, let me know! I love to share our experience in hopes of helping others. If you're currently in the process, please let me know how I can be praying for you! 

With love,
The Kochs 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving


Love this post by my friend Lena Satterlee about being thankful in all circumstances:



" Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving! 

National Adoption Month: She Chose Us

We were matched with Isabel's birth mom one year ago TODAY. 

I shared this photo just a few hours before we heard the news!

I'll never forget how it felt to finally receive that life-changing news. I remember the way my heart leapt when I looked down to see our adoption consultants calling at 8 p.m. at night. I remember the way everything inside of me went still when I heard the words, "She chose you." I remember standing in our Canadian apartment with tears welling up & excitement exploding in my heart as the news sunk in. After all the waiting, being matched felt so surreal. A few minutes later, our consultants emailed over a picture of Isabel's birth mom. As I looked at her picture for the first time, peace & gratitude filled my heart for the brave, beautiful woman I saw looking back at me. 

Cary was on a plane flying across Canada for the 2014 Grey Cup when I got the news, so I had to wait 2 hours to tell him. It was SO hard waiting to share the news with him!!! That night we celebrating the exciting news over the phone & prayed for the birth mom. I hardly slept at all anticipating all that was to come! The next morning we were able to speak with Isabel's birth mom on a conference call. The conversation was awesome & just what we all needed to confirm that the match was right. As our call ended & I hung up the phone, joy & relief overwhelmed me. We were going to have a baby! I cried while praising God for His hand on our journey. 


One year later we are soaking up the joy that our sweet 9 month old daughter brings to our lives every single day. We are so thankful to be celebrating this Thanksgiving with Isabel in our arms. I look at my daughter's beautiful face & I see God's grace written all over her life. I'm been so overwhelmed with gratitude this week as I reflect on our journey this time last year. I am amazed at the way God brought everything together in His perfect timing. Thanksgiving week will forever remind me of God's faithfulness & sovereignty!







If you are a Baton Rouge or Louisiana local, contact Jen Menard Olano if you need family, newborn, maternity, engagement or wedding photography. Jen is not only a talented photographer, she also is a kind woman, generous soul & sweet friend. She has donated her time, money & talent to our adoption fundraising. She even felt led to reach out & BLESS us with this family shoot! She recently photographed my sister's wedding & did an amazing job. Jen has been such a great friend to our family & we are thankful. Go give this generous woman some business! 

I am so grateful for Isabel's birth mom for choosing adoption & choosing us for our sweet girl. I pray the Lord would bless her abundantly. Please keep Isabel's birth family in your prayers this Thanksgiving.

I can't wait to see what's in store for our family as we move forward with another adoption. We are beginning to pray specific prayers over our next baby-to-be & his/her birth mother. We would love for you to join us. God is so faithful & we are trusting His hand to be over detail of our new journey.

We are so grateful for all of the prayer, encouragement & support our family & friends have given us over the past year & a half. We couldn't do this without our amazing community behind us.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Tyler, Cary & Isabel  

National Adoption Month: Faith Bigger than Fear

   The joy Isabel has brought to our family has made the wait & sacrifices from our adoption journey seem to fade away. 


As we move closer to getting officially started with our next adoption, my heart as been reminded of the fears & hardships that come along with the process. There’s no denying adoption comes with huge risks. The process is complicated & difficult. Adoption is filled with unknowns & uncertainties. The emotional risks make our hearts vulnerable while the financial risks we face are huge & terrifying.

Throughout the process you live with the knowledge that there are no guarantees & everything can change at the drop of a hat. The fear of a failed match & risk of losing thousands of dollars, the fears associated with fundraising, the unknowns & concerns over the baby’s health…these are just a few of the long list of legitimate fears that those in the process have to navigate every single day. Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to be protected from this part of the adoption process.

Part of not just surviving the process, but keeping your sanity in tact is figuring out how to guard your heart, navigate the fears, prepare for the risks, all while still living with hope, peace & joy. Throughout our journey to adopt Isabel, I really struggled at times (most of the time) to live with faith bigger than my fear. What I came to understand as I struggled to live with a healthy balance of reality & hope, is having faith bigger than our fear doesn’t mean we live in denial of risks. It doesn’t mean we won’t be faced with deep pain & burdens on our journey. Living with faith means that we must choose to continuously put our hearts in God’s hands & believe that no matter what circumstances adoption (or life) brings our way: He is good & enough for us through it all. It is only when we put all of our hope in Him that we can experience peace that passes all understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

One of my mantras for our next adoption is: 
Live with faith bigger than fear. 
I know only God can give me the strength to live this way through the crazy ups & downs adoption brings. I hope our journey is a quick & smooth one, but more than that, I hope regardless of the circumstances we may face in the journey, our faith would never waiver & that our hope, peace, & joy would always be found in Him.

I pray that regardless of what situation, diagnosis, disappointment, hardship or fear you’re facing today, my words would remind you to turn to the One who has a limitless supply of peace, strength, hope & joy to give you.

Would you lift us up in prayer as we begin to prepare our hearts to adopt again? We are blessed to have such an incredible & encouraging community behind us. 
We are excited to see what’s ahead.


With love,

Tyler

Saturday, November 21, 2015

National Adoption Month: News of You

One year ago TODAY we heard about Isabel for the very first time. We are reminded today of the beautiful sacrifice her birth mother made by choosing adoption & choosing us. So grateful!

Last year, on November 21st, we received an email from our adoption consultants with a birth mother situation like we had several times before. We quickly read the limited information & both immediately agree to send our profile book to the birth mother. 
I still remember my prayer after we made the decision to present our book to her. I asked the Lord to give me peace, regardless of the outcome. I prayed for the protection & development of the baby. That day & in the days to come I prayed constantly for the birth mom, "Lord give her strength, wisdom, clarity, peace, & hope as she makes her decision." 
For the first time in our 3 month waiting-to-be-matched-process, I actually had peace instead of anxiety in my heart as we waited over the next few days to hear news. I hoped she would choose us, but I was no longer putting my hope in the outcome of the situation. I really didn't think we would be chosen...little did I know, God was about to answer all of our prayers.


Today we supported Baby Steps Infertility Awareness 5k. Cary ran in anticipation of our sweet Baby K #2. Loved seeing so many people out supporting friends & family supported by infertility. 

I hope our story encourages those of you still waiting for your miracle. Whether it's a positive pregnancy test, an adoption match, a spiritual breakthrough or healing for someone you love...I'm here to remind you that the Lord hasn't forgotten about you… Trust in His timing today! 

With love,
Tyler 

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." ~Romans 12:12

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:14 

"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 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

National Adoption Month: For This Child

Before you read my words below, go read this beautiful devotional from Sarah's Laughter Infertility Ministry: 
Link:

I cried the whole way through it. Every single word hits home

It was for Isabel that we waited, prepared, dreamed, hoped & longed for two years… She is truly our good & perfect gift from above…she is the child we prayed for. When I saw her face for the first time, everything inside of me grew still & I knew with every fiber of my being that I was created to know & love her. 

It was for this child I stayed awake long nights aching to know & longing to hold.. It was for this child I shed countless tears over… For this child I begged the Lord to bring into my life… For this child I prayed every single day for… For this child that I dreamed about & longed to know deep within my soul. 

The infertility & the adoption process, the wait & the pain, the desire & the dreams…it was all for the Lord's purpose of bringing Isabel, my daughter, to me. 

And now I feel that way again. I know the Lord has another baby for us. I can feel it in my soul. It's for this next child, this very specific child that the Lord is leading us to, that everything in me wants to fight for, prepare for, fundraise for, dream about, pray over…

I don't doubt God's plan anymore. We feel Him nudging us to prepare & so we are. We are jumping back into the crazy, emotional, stressful, exhausting, financially draining journey of adoption NOW because we know there is another this child that we are meant to know & love. 
I'm surrendered to God's plan so much more than I was 2 years ago, because I know in my heart whatever wait is ahead of us this time around is more than worth it

  Whether it only takes 6 months or 2 more years for God to lead us to Baby K #2, we are committed to trusting God to lead to us our next little one… We'd love for you to consider joining us on our new adoption adventure. The journey ahead won't be easy & we are going to need our support system to remind of these truths from time to time… Adoption is hard, y'all. It's an emotional, spiritual & financial battle every step of the way. We are going to need a whole lot of prayer, encouragement & financial support from our family, friends, church & community covering us.   

 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"
 ~Ephesians 3:20 



With Love,
Tyler 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

National Adoption Month: Faithful Father

God is faithful to me, even when I am not faithful to Him. 
I am so thankful that He comes down to meet us right where we are… In the middle of our broken messes or in the midst of our highest praises He is the same faithful Father. 

Over the past 2 years, I've had a whole lot of "messy" inside of me. Infertility & adoption have a way of bringing out ALL THE FEELS- which includes a lot of messy emotions & struggles. Our infertility diagnosis plunged me into a grief so deep that for a while, I didn't think I would ever make it out. I've been angry, I've lashed out at God, I've been hollow & empty of hope. Throughout both our infertility & adoption journeys, I've been sad & jealous, bitter & frustrated, impatient & anxious. I've doubted God, struggled with surrendering control & battled fear. My faith has been challenged to the breaking point… 


I literally had to get to a place of complete brokenness before the Lord before I was able to be honest with Him & myself. I've had to face the reality that for most of my life, I've put my trust in myself, in my dreams & my plans. I've been forced to ask myself, "Do I believe God is enough for me? "Do I truly believe that God has a plan for me? Do I believe His plan is best?" & then had to decide how I was going to live if I believed the answer to those questions to be yes… 

 God puts our broken pieces back together & mends our hearts when we let Him in. I'm a work in progress like we all are…when crap hits the fan, I still struggle with handing my "mess" over to Him… I still struggle to have peace & joy in hard circumstances… I still fail to put too much trust in myself & not enough in Him. But when I come before the Lord in complete surrender, I experience peace, & healing…He gives me strength, hope & grace. Regardless of my circumstances, I want to proclaim "God is faithful" & lean on Him for the strength to live in a way that reflects my belief. Refinement is a messy process; but God gives us grace upon grace... I am so grateful He loves us enough not to leave us in our own mess.  


I don't know what messy circumstances you are facing today. I don't know what pain you've endured or what loss you've suffered… I may not be able to understand your specific struggles or know what it's like to be in your situation, but I do know what it's like to feel broken, lose hope & be a mess inside. I can share my experience in hopes that it points you to the One who does understand & wants heal your heart. I can pray my story & my words offer you hope. If you invite God into your broken places, He will build you back up on His strong foundation.  

With love, 
Tyler 

"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 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 
~Romans 8:28 

 "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
~Romans 8:38-39 

Monday, November 16, 2015

National Adoption Month: The 93% Giving Support

Throughout the month of November, I am participating in the #knittogetherbyadoption hashtag prompts on Instagram. (Follow me @theadventuresofbabyk) 
Everyday there is a topic that families & people touched by adoption write about. Sharing our stories helps bring awareness to adoption. I'm loving the opportunity to share more about our adoption journey & reflect back over all God has done in our family. I've also enjoyed reading posts from other people touched by adoption. One of the prompts from last week was to write about the responsibility of the Christian community to support adoptive & foster families.  

---------
I want to preface this post by saying how blessed we were to have an amazing support system throughout our first adoption journey… The Gospel was lived out last year as so many families, friends & even strangers helped us bring Isabel home. 

There is a statistic that says if 7% of Christians in the world stepped up to adopt or care for a child in need of a family, there would be no more children waiting for families. That would leave the other 93% of Christians responsible for supporting the 7% of adoptive & foster families. 

Can you imagine how the world would change if we all stepped up to live this call out? The Bible is clear that as Christians, we are to care for orphans- not all of us are called to adopt, but ALL Christians are called to support those who do. Challenging, right?! There are SO many tangible & wonderful ways to support adoption without actually adopting or fostering! 


If you are a part of the 93%, pray about how you can be more involved in supporting adoptive & foster families. 

Below are *some* of the practical ways you can give support: 

Give --> The financial burden that accompanies adoption is the #1 reason more couples don't adopt… For our family & so many others, the greatest need is financial. Adoption is expensive & there's no way we could afford it without immense help from our friends, family & community. Donate, host fundraisers, help with fundraisers, share fundraisers- every little bit of encouragement & support helps!  

Pray & Encourage --> Pray for foster & adoptive families. Advocate for us. Reach out & be an emotional support system. Listen, encourage, speak life. Respect boundaries & be sensitive. Use positive adoption language (especially around the children)- it's important & it affects us, I promise. 

Serve --> Offer to help or organize help- bring meals, groceries, toys, hand-me-down clothes, hot coffee & gift cards. Give a baby-shower or host a supply drive for whatever is needed (it meant the absolute world to me when my family & friends gave us a baby shower) Provide free lawn care while families are adjusting, offer free baby-sitting, offer to dog sit for us for free or for cheap while we are away for a birth or international adoption trip-boarding costs add up quickly & it means so much to know our fur babies are cared for. Be creative, whatever talents you have- offer them in service! 

 We are forever grateful for the support we received with Isabel's adoption. We were supported in almost all of the ways I listed above, which made such a difference in our journey. Please know that I'm giving allllll of this advice to myself as well!!! Our journey opened our eyes to the need from more support to be given to families involved in adoption & we've been challenged to do more for other families. We have focused on supporting domestic adoption the most over the past year, & I am personally challenged & convicted to do SO MUCH MORE to support foster & international adoptive families this coming year...I especially feel like God is opening my eyes to how much foster families need support from community. 

Regardless of our specific situations, ALL adoptive or foster families need community to rally around us. Domestic adoption, international adoption & foster care are unique processes but each process takes a huge amount of work & sacrifice...each process can hard, exhausting & financially taxing. Bottom line: Families adopting & fostering need major help & the Christian community is called to be that help! 

So let's do it, y'all! Let's love big...Let's be generous with our money & resources...Let's help families who are answering the call to love & provide for these precious children...Let's change the world together! 

My sweet friend Kailey Birkeland of Cheers to Plan A put together this amazing list of small shops, many of which benefit orphan care & adoptive families. We are doing most of our Christmas shopping from small shops & adoption fundraisers this year & this list has been super helpful!
Check it out:
Shop Small Christmas Guide

If you're on Instagram, follow along with the #knittogetherbyadoption hashtag to hear from people touched by adoption throughout the month of November.

We are still blown away by the way our family, friends & community loved & helped us with Isabel's adoption. As you know, we are now starting our second adoption process. After much prayer, we feel strongly that God has called us to start the adoption process NOW, so we've stepped out in faith to start preparing. In order for it to be possible for us to adopt again, we have a long journey of fundraising ahead of us. It's literally impossible for us to do this again without a whole lot of support. If you would like to support us financially, check out the "Support Us" tab at the top of the blog for more info. If you'd like to read more about our decision to pursue another adoption, check out our previous posts: Crazy News & For This Child
We love y'all! 


With love & thanks,
Tyler 

Baby Steps 5k

This coming weekend (Saturday the 21st) we will be participating in Baby Steps 5k, an event put on to raise awareness for infertility. On race day, one lucky family will win a $10,000 family building grant that can be put towards fertility treatment or adoption costs (if we were to win, we would put the money toward our second adoption)! How amazing is that!?! You can sign up for the race, join our team (Team Baby K) & give us your tickets to help increase our chances of winning the family building grant. 
***You don't even have to attend the race to help us! Just sign up, join Team Baby K & let us know! We will pick up your packet on race day.*** 
Sign up ends TOMORROW (Tues Nov 17th)! 
It's only $25 to register. We would love your support! The 21st is a special date for our family…it's the date that we first received information about Isabel's birth mom last year. Excited to see what God has in store for us next! 

 Here's the link to the event page with more information: 

Direct link to the sign up page:

If you would prefer to donate straight to our second adoption fund instead of buying a race ticket, you can do so through Paypal using the "Donate" button on the right hand side of our blog. We are so grateful for the support :)


-The Koch Fam

Saturday, November 14, 2015

National Adoption Month: Open

When I think about "open" as it relates to adoption, the words love, honesty, commitment, hard, vulnerability, connection, bittersweet, joy, wisdom, grace & healing come to mind. 

Openness means loving Isabel's birth family well & being committed to maintaining our connection with them. Openness means being committed to helping our child understand her story & her identity. Openness means facing the hard stuff together. Openness means always speaking to our daughter about her adoption story with honesty, because honesty leads to healing. Openness means being vulnerable to share our story with the world so that others can see the redemption & hope that adoption offers. Openness means we embrace both the bitter & sweet parts of adoption...we celebrate the incredible joy adoption has brought to our family while recognizing the significant loss our child & our child's birth family have endured. Openness requires wisdom & grace. When I think of the word "open" I think of striving to do what's best for everyone involved in the adoption triad. 


If you're on Intagram, follow along with the #knittogetherbyadoption hashtag prompts through the month of November. I am loving hearing from other families touched by adoption.

We appreciate your prayers as we begin to prepare prayerfully & financially for another adoption adventure. If you would like to financially support us as we prepare for a second adoption, check out the "Support Us" tab at the top of our blog. We are grateful for every little bit of help!