Thursday, December 17, 2015

Adoption After Infertility: Hope After Heartache

I was recently asked to share our adoption story in a series called Adoption After Infertility over on Sarah Frazer's blog, Abiding in Grace

Here's a snippet from my post:
 "Whenever we received our infertility diagnosis, I felt like God had cursed or abandoned us. Now I can see His blessings and purpose for us in it. Two years ago, I could never have imagined I would ever be able to say that and actually mean it. The Lord has used Isabel to heal my heart and fulfill my deep desire to be a mother. Every time I look at her, my heart fills with joy… I see my daughter, the greatest and most precious blessing of my life and I am reminded of His faithfulness. When I look into her beautiful sparkling brown eyes, I may not see my blue eyes looking back at me, but I do see unconditional love and the deepest joys and desires of my heart reflected. When I pass a mirror and see Isabel’s dark hair contrasted next to my blonde hair, I am reminded of the mysterious and beautiful way the Lord answered our prayers for a child. I look at my daughter’s precious face everyday and I see God’s amazing grace written all over our story."

Click the link to read the full post:

I love sharing our story & pray it blesses hearts.

Merry Christmas, 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Families Called to Adopt: Let's Support One Another

The other day I was on social media & read a post about adoption. More specifically, about how people should stop paying high fees to adopt infants domestically & instead adopt from the foster care system.

Now, let me say, the main point of the status was to raise awareness for foster care, which I am behind 100%. However, in the process of promoting adoption from the foster care system, the author criticized families who adopt domestically & fundraise to do so. Obviously, this post struck a nerve with me, as we are currently pursuing our second domestic infant adoption & fundraising again. After I read the status, I tried to go on with my day but my heart was troubled & perplexed by this mindset. I didn’t understand why someone would choose to advocate for foster care adoption by putting down families who choose other avenues of adoption.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts here with you on this topic… 
If you follow my posts or know me, you know my heart is for all types of adoption, including foster care adoption. There is an enormous need for families to adopt from the foster care system. Did you know that if 1 out of 4 families in every church in the U.S. adopted from foster care, the system would be eradicated? Foster care adoption comes at little to no cost, which is amazing & should be talked about as the cost that accompanies domestic & international adoption is one of the main reasons more couples don’t adopt! I do believe the heart behind the post that inspired this post was a burning passion to bring awareness to the waiting children in the system…& awareness is important, wonderful & necessary! More people need to be educated on the foster to adopt process, no doubt.
However, discouraging other avenues of adoption while advocating for foster care is not cool. That mindset is divisive, hurtful & not necessary. Families built by adoption should all be on the same team! We should be encouraging & supporting ALL types of adoption, because there is a NEED for all 3 avenues of adoption: foster care, domestic & international. When we hear a family is adopting, our response should not be to criticize the way they are going about it, our response should be, “Wonderful! How can I pray for you? How can I support your growing family? May God bless you on your journey.” Why use our words to divide when we can use them to unify?

To families built by adoption: we may play different roles in the adoption world, but we are all answering the unique call of God on our families. We all have the same heart & same goal: advocate for children in need of families, seek the will of God for our family & fight for our children at all costs! Our journeys may different, but our hearts should be in unison.

Who are we to judge how God is calling someone to adopt? We don’t know the intimate desires of another person’s heart. We don’t know how many tears, how much research, all the prayers & the struggle that went into making the decision to adopt. Who are we to say one type of adoption is more worthy than another? Who are we to criticize the avenue another family has chosen? Who are we to say which specific child the Lord is calling another family to? Whatever avenue of adoption a family is pursing, I promise you, they did not make the decision lightly.  
Our response to fellow adoptive families should always be to encourage, to support & to love. Adoption can be such a difficult process in so many ways & as families built by adoption, we of all people should be supporting one another!

There are over 100,000 children waiting for families in the U.S. foster care system, there are millions of orphans across the world, & there are thousands of birth mothers in the U.S. making adoption plans for their unborn babies. 
I do not believe God favors or blesses one type of adoption over another. His heart is to see children in families. A child in the U.S. foster care system is just as valuable in His eyes to a child in an orphanage in Uganda or a baby in a womb in Georgia. His will for us is to seek Him & follow His unique calling for each of our lives. 

Domestic adoption should not be looked down upon or discouraged because it is expensive. When a birth mother makes an adoption plan & signs her parental rights away, that precious baby needs a home & family just as much as kids in the foster care system or children in orphanages all across the world! Advocating for foster care adoption (or international adoption) should not include discouraging families who pursuing domestic adoption, and vice versa! If a family feels led to adopt domestically, internationally or from the foster care system, they are doing so because they believe that particular avenue will lead them to the child God has for their family. As parents, we would all do anything for our kids, right?! For some of us adopting domestically, that includes humbling ourselves by fundraising. Cary & I do not have the funds to make another domestic adoption happen, but we believe the Lord is calling us to it again, so we are stepping out to do so & trusting Him to provide. We will do anything to bring our next little one home, that is the job of a parent…to fight for your child NO MATTER THE COST!

When we decided to adopt again, we spent time in prayer asking God which type of adoption we should pursue. We sought wisdom, we did research, we examined our hearts, our finances, our life circumstances & our vision for the future of our family. Then we surrendered IT ALL before the Lord & asked Him for peace & clarity. If there’s one thing the Lord taught me through Isabel’s adoption, it’s when He calls us to something, it is for a specific purpose.  So when God united our hearts to pursue domestic infant adoption again, Cary & I said yes to it without hesitation. If along the way we feel the Lord leading us in another direction, we will follow His lead because we know there is a glorious purpose in His timing & plan for our family. 

At this time in my life, the Lord has captivated my heart with domestic infant adoption. However, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t broken for the children in orphanages all over the world or that I’m not burdened over the waiting children in the foster care system. I am convicted that I am not doing enough for these children & I want to do more, specifically for the kids here in the Louisiana foster care system. I try to use my social media platform to advocate for these children & pray for them consistently. I have visited the websites for waiting children in Louisiana many times over the past 2 years. I have spent nights praying for these children by name with tears rolling down my face. Foster care adoption is close to my heart & in the future, we will likely add to our family through it. I’ve also struggled at times with pursuing infant adoption over foster care adoption. But at this time the Lord has given us peace that domestic infant adoption is the next step for our family so that’s what we are doing! The desire of our hearts is to go wherever the Lord leads us. 

Adoption is a calling. 
All Christians are called to care for children in need of families, although not all Christians are called to adopt. We each have a role to play & there are many ways to make an impact! Similarity, those of us called to adoption are called to welcome a child into our family, but that doesn’t mean we are all called to go about it the same way.
 Some of us are called to adopt an infant domestically. Some of us are called to adopt from the foster care system. Some of us are called to adopt internationally. Some of us are called to adopt multiple times, sometimes from different avenues, sometimes through the same avenue.There are millions of children throughout the world in need of a forever family. What should matter is: we are adopting! 
We are answering the call of God on our lives to welcome a child into our family. We are doing whatever is necessary to bring our little one home. For some of us that means fundraising & sacrificing financially, for some of us it means sacrificing or turning our lives upside down in different ways. If we’ve surrendered our plans to the Lord & are pursuing the avenue He has given us peace & passion for, then rest assured: His will for our family is unfolding. 
We are all on the same team, so let's cheer each other on!!!

If you take away anything from this post let it be this:
As people who are passionate about adoption, let’s support one another & foster a spirit of unification & encouragement instead of division & criticism! Let’s advocate for all types of adoption. Let's advocate for specific types of adoption without discouraging the other types. Let’s support one another's own unique adoption journeys in whatever way we can! 

I hope this gives y'all a glimpse into my heart & our decision to pursue another domestic infant adoption. We are excited & expectant over what's ahead for our growing family. If you would like to support us financially, check out the "Support Us" tab at the top of the blog. We cherish your prayers & encouragement in this new journey!

If you are also adopting, please let me know how my family can be praying for yours! I would love to know what type of adoption you are pursuing & how my family can support yours as you go through the process.

 With love,