In honor of National Adoption Month, members of the adoption triad shared their adoption stories on social media. Throughout the month of November, I used "The ABCs of Adoption" as a guide to help me share my heart on adoption topics. Click here, here, here, here & here to read my previous posts.
W is for...We Could Have Missed This
So thankful we didn't let unknowns, risks, financial obstacles, fears or others' opinions hold us back from adopting! To say that our precious babies were more than worth every hard moment, struggle, tear & sacrifice it took to bring them home is an understatement. Don't let anything stop you from pursuing what you know God has put on your heart!
X for...X-tra Thankful
Happy Thanksgiving friends! My arms & heart are full this Thanksgiving because of adoption! I'm feeling extra thankful for my little blessings this year. :)
Y is for...YAY!
2 years ago on November 25th, we got THE CALL & our lives changed forever in the best way possible! I'll never forget the moment I heard these three little words, "She chose you!" from our adoption consultant. Initially I was in shock...then the happy tears started!
At the time we were living in Canada. I was in our apartment watching the Dancing with the Stars finale by myself when I got the news. Cary was on a plane flying across Canada to the Grey Cup (for those of you who aren't familiar with the Canadian Football League, The Grey Cup is basically the Super Bowl of the CFL)...I had to wait over 2 hours for the plane to land before I could get him on the phone to tell him...I was DYING!!! 3 days later we were finally able to be together to celebrate in person! #allthefeels
So grateful the Lord led us to our precious Izzy...so honored her birth mom chose us for her. Our baby girl lights up our lives & brings us more joy than we ever imagined possible!
Z is for...Zephaniah 3:17
"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."
This post concludes my "ABCs of Adoption" posts!
Thanks to everyone who followed along & for all of the beautiful & kind words so many of you have had for my family this month. God has used National Adoption Month to continue teaching me much about His love & the beauty of family. Reading posts from others who have also shared their truths, hearts & journeys so openly, honestly & beautifully has been so moving. Pressing in with so many others to learn more about what adoption means to fellow families, adoptees & birth families has brought new perspective, comfort, hope & growth to my heart. Blessed to "know" so many of your hearts through your beautiful words. God is moving & using the power of adoption stories to bring His people closer to knowing His heart.
Thankful & blessed to be walking this journey with so many others!
In honor of National Adoption Month, thousands of members of the adoption triad shared their adoption stories on social media. I joined in & used "The ABCs of Adoption" as a guide to help me share my heart on adoption topics.
Ashley Mitchell of BigToughGirl ministries came up with this cool way to share about adoption this month. Search #btgadoption on Instagram for more beautiful, honest, inspiring & raw adoption stories. Click here, here, here & here to read my other "ABCs of Adoption" posts.
V is for...Vivid
4 memories stand out to me as the most vivid moments of our journey over the past few years. In these memories, both my deepest sorrow & greatest joy reside.
Vivid Memory 1: Despair
"Infertility." Everything seemed to cave in around me the moment I heard that word applied to us for the first time. It was Christmas week 2013. We had been trying for about a year to conceive. Even before I hung up the phone with the nurse, I was shaking & my face was wet with tears. I crawled into our bed & under the covers as my body shook with sobs. As I laid there processing our diagnosis, my heart physically hurt & I could barely breath. Shock, anger & despair filled me. I felt darkness closing in around me from every side. For me, the pain overwhelmed everything else... In those first moments & in the weeks to come, I couldn't grasp even an ounce of hope. I felt betrayed by our bodies & by God. In my mind, I saw all the dreams I'd had since I was a little girl fade away into nothing but a gaping hole of loss. The heartbreak was sharp, intense, & overwhelming... My pain was real & deep...for a time it would control & destroy me.
Those first minutes & hours seemed like an eternity. I managed to call Cary. Between panicked sobs I told him the news. His response was so different from mine which immediately hurt me & made me feel even more isolated. Cary is the most hopeful, faith-filled, optimistic person I know. He was sure there had been a mistake & that new tests would show normal results...he called it faith, I called it denial. Instead of his attitude encouraging me, it angered me. Right from the beginning there was a difference in how we processed things & it made us feel disconnected from one another. In that first moment of disconnect, Satan stepped into the space & started to do all he could to widen the gap between us.
As the days went on, a deep sadness settled over me. I found it difficult to function properly, cried frequently & withdrew from everyone. I would wake up at night with tears on my cheeks & a hollowness inside of me. I couldn't imagine a future without children. In my pain, I pushed God away. I simply couldn't fathom how a loving Father could ever take away what His daughter desired most. I couldn't see it at the time, but God was there with me, holding me in His loving arms & leading us on a path that was more beautiful & redemptive than we could have imagined.
Vivid Memory 2: Joy
One of my most vidid memories from our first adoption journey is the moment Isabel was born. Laying eyes on my daughter as she entered the world was, hands down, the most beautiful moment of my life. I wrote this post for National Adoption Month last year & wanted to share it again.
• • • • • • • •
Years of prayer came to fruition the day our lives collided. We met in a hospital room, like mothers & daughters usually do. However, our story is not as simple as most.
Your daddy held me close as the nurses in the room seemed to shift into high gear. You were finally coming & you were coming fast. Sterile hospital gown & gloves were slipped on & then all of a sudden it was time. My hands were shaking & my heart beating so fast. I looked up at your birth mother, at the clock & then back at your daddy one final time. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
As I stood at your birth mom's bedside, waiting for you to arrive, watching her to bring you into the world & into my arms, time seemed to stand still. After all the waiting, dreaming & hoping, there you were in the flesh...tiny, beautiful & so perfect. As I held you, everyone else faded away for a moment & my heart exploded with JOY. You daddy leaned in & there we were, a family of three. Our long journey to find you finally made perfect sense.
Vivid Memory 3: Fear
The hardest part of our adoption journey came after Isabel was born. In Georgia there is a revocation period of 10 days. During this 10 day window, the birth mom has the right to change her mind about the adoption plan & choose to parent. On one hand, our 10 day waiting period was a time of joy as we took care of & bonded with the precious baby girl we loved with all our hearts...but it was also a time of exhaustion, anxiety & great fear for me.
In the week following Izzy's birth, her birth family experienced a tragedy unrelated to the adoption. We were all on our knees in prayer & hoping for a miracle. This emotional trauma just added to the post birth pain her birth mom was going through. On top of the normal revocation period anxiety, we had heightened worry. God answered prayers & brought miraculous healing to C's family situation. She ended up never wavering in her decision to place Isabel with us, but at the time we were living moment to moment with no idea how things would play out.
When all of this was going on, I was a complete mess..physically & emotionally. As we counted down the days, I was paralyzed with fear of what could happen. I remember so vividly kneeling in the closet of the condo we were staying in & crying out to the Lord with all my soul. God met me in that moment of fear. His love surrounded me & gave me strength. He whispered to my heart that Isabel was His beloved daughter & His mighty hand was on her life...He reassured me that I didn't have to live in fear.
Vivid Memory 4: Peace
Hours before we heard about Noah's birth mom, I was praying when the Lord told me to "rest" in Him. Later that day, we heard about him for the first time. We were given very few details about his adoption situation, but God gave us peace to say yes & send our profile book. His peace would carry us through the next 4 weeks as we prepared for our son, experienced his birth & waited 6 days for the adoption papers to be signed.
I vividly remember the moment in the above photo as one of great peace. After Noah was born, we were able to immediately get settled into our own hospital room & have skin to skin. As I laid there with our brand new boy snuggled into me, I could feel God's peace covering me. My heart was so confident that He would carry us through whatever the coming hours & day held. I knew that we were still in a uncertain place & had no control over how things would play out. We didn't know for sure that the sweet boy we loved so much would indeed forever be our son... All we could do was love him with everything we had, love his birth mom in any way she needed & put our trust in the Lord. It's a scary place to be but God truly covered us with His peace. Over the next few days we were discharged from the hospital with Noah & came home to wait out the remaining days until the adoption papers to be signed. Even when nothing was certain & doubt, fear & anxiety tried to press in from every side, our hearts were able to truly rest in supernatural peace from the Lord. Noah means "peace & rest" Thankful for the God's hand on Noah's life!
As always, please feel free to share our story with anyone who needs advice & encouragement as they consider adoption!
Feeling so blessed by our incredible community of love & support. -Tyler
In honor of National Adoption Month, members of the adoption triad shared their adoption stories on social media. Throughout the month of November, I used "The ABCs of Adoption" as a guide to help me share my heart on adoption topics. To read my first few posts, click here, here & here.
Q is for...Questions
When we first started researching adoption, we were overwhelmed & had countless questions. In our experience, hearing from other couples who navigated the process & had real life experience to share, brought us so much perspective, direction & hope. We definitely don't have all the answers & are learning more every day, but we would love to be a resource to those of you considering/walking through Domestic Infant Adoption.
I have shared a lot about our adoption experience over the past 2.5 years on my Instagram account@theadventuresofbabyk & also here on our blog. Check out old posts here & on Instagram for more insight in our journey. If you have questions about the adoption process, need fundraising tips, or just want to connect, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The best thing you can do when you're starting the adoption process is connect with other couples who have been through it!
*You can expect about a two week delay before receiving a response! Life with two littles keeps me busy! Thanks for your patience :)
R is for…Rely
I was looking through old engagement photos the other day & this one really struck me. I was immediately transported to a time when we lived in a bubble of hope, love & naivety. We sat on those steps 5 years ago looking each other with our whole life ahead of us... Little did we know how symbolic that staircase would be of our struggle to grow our family.
Infertility robbed us of so much...not just the ability to have biological children, but for a time, our joy & our dreams. Over the last few years, we've had to rely on each other, our faith & our family & friends in ways we never could have imagined as we've had our hearts broken, our faith challenged & our marriage tested. We've had to fight to put the pieces back together, grow in our walk with Jesus, work hard at reclaiming intimacy in our marriage & reconstruct our dreams.
Infertility has also given us so much...if we hadn't struggled to conceive, we wouldn't have considered adoption when we did. I cannot imagine our lives without our beloved babies! God has undoubtably used adoption to redeem so much of our pain & struggle. He's used adoption to strengthen us, bless us with our precious children & give us new dreams & callings. He's taught us that we can do hard things & that our hope must be found in Him.
Even in the face of so much deep joy, renewed hope, incredible purpose & beautiful growth, the pain of infertility creeps back in from time to time. When the pain flares up & things get hard, we are reminded that in order to survive, we have to rely daily on our faith. The same is true when things get tough in the adoption process...or any hard life circumstance. We have to run to Jesus & trust that He is using all of our struggles for His purposes & glory! If you're walking through infertility or adoption & need some prayers feel free to reach out to me.
S is for…Support
Adoptive families are often surrounded by a support system during & after they adopt. We often talk about the support we received & how much it meant to us. This month I've shared many ways to support adoptive families. Today I want to flip the script on "support" when it comes to adoption by sharing one tangible & meaningful way that y'all can love & support birth mothers in honor of National Adoption Month. Birth moms often don't have a strong support system as they walk through pregnancy, make the difficult decision to choose adoption, give birth & then move on to life after placement.
I want to share a bit about a beautiful "internet friend" of mine, Ashley Mitchell, who is doing big things in the adoption community! If you aren't already, go follow Ashley on Instagram at @bigtoughgirl. Ashely is the owner of BTG. She's a believer, a wife + mother, a birth mom & in my eyes, an absolute rock star. I've been following Ashley for about 2 years now. I continue to be inspired & moved by her vulnerability & bravery in sharing her heart & experience as a birth mom. Ashley is passionate about loving birth moms & improving the adoption community. Through her BTG business & ministry, Ashley is able to offer support to birth moms & women who find themselves in hard places.
For the past few years, BigToughGirl has hosted a BTG Soul Cruise. Birth moms (& even some adoptive moms) from all backgrounds & walks of life are able to take a few days for themselves to embark on not only a fun cruise but also a journey of growth, fellowship & healing. This January, another group of women will have the incredible opportunity to go on the BTG Soul Cruise. Ashley's heart is to cover has many expenses as possible for the women so the experience can be as life-changing & wonderful as possible for them. With that being said, there's still $1,000 left of expenses that need to be covered in the next few weeks before the 2017 cruise. Here's where YOU come in! Would you consider supporting adoption in a different, but super important way this month by donating to BTG in honor of these incredible big tough girls?! Head over to bigtoughgirl.com to find more info on the Soul Cruise, learn more about BTG & make a donation. I'm headed over to donate & I hope you will too! No donation is too small & every little bit will go to bless these women in a life-changing way...I can't think of a better way to honor National Adoption Month!
T is for…Transform
Excited to change it up by having my incredible husband Cary share his heart with y'all!
"Adoption has transformed me in a multitude of ways. The most impactful way adoption has transformed my life is through my walk of faith with Jesus Christ. The more in love I fall with Isabel Grace and Noah Griffin, the more I begin to see the how God views us as His children adopted into His family. When we start viewing our relationship with our Heavenly Father from this point of view, things begin to shift…
The eyes of my heart have been transformed. I see people as hand picked, chosen and formed by God, for His purposes & glory. When I started to see the unfolding of God's plan for our growing family, my heart began to swell with a desire and passion to see the adoption process (domestic, international, foster, special needs) get a better reputation & continue to be reformed. The history of adoption in many peoples’ eyes is not the open, honest & redemptive process we strive for now. I see this as a calling for people, especially those in the adoption community, to step up and step out to promote, educate & live out healthy, loving adoptions.
Through open adoption we have been transformed, as we have been able to develop relationships with our childrens' birth mothers and show them LOVE in whatever way that means. We try and model our lives and family values after Jesus' life and especially one key principle of loving your neighbor as yourself. This is very backwards in our society and culture, but God has continued to mold our hearts and minds as we continue to walk this commandment out.
My thought process of how I address situations has been transformed. The education and experience we have gained through infertility & adoption has given us a heightened tenderness when dealing with people and "loss." There are so many around us experiencing loss and heartache in different capacities. Walking out everything our family has gone through allows us to give people more grace, mercy, patience, and freedom as they process their own pain, grief & loss. Although our story focuses on infertility and adoption, I find that many are able to relate to the struggles we’ve faced and obstacles we’ve overcome. I feel great empathy for people, especially men dealing with grief. We process things much differently than women and often internalize our pain. I implore men dealing with grief, pain & hardship to open up and express how you are feeling to your spouse, family member, friend, counselor, etc. In my experience, the more we can open up and talk about an issue the easier it begins to process, move forward, and hopefully find a better place of peace.
I’m thankful for the way God has used adoption to teach me, change me & transform me for the better." -Cary “I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
How sweet is my husband's beautiful heart?! Loved having him share with y'all how adoption has transformed his life. Thankful for my faith-filled, tender-hearted man.
U is for…Ultrasound
Cary took this photo of me almost 2 years ago, the day we were able to see our Isabel Grace on an ultrasound for the very first time! Back then we affectionately called her "Sweet Baby K". I'm so emotional remembering how special this moment was to me...so much joy, awe & gratitude captured in this photo.
Let me back up a little bit... After being matched with Isabel's birth mom, we were able to have a conference call with her. I'll never forget how my heart jumped in my chest the first time I heard her voice. The words she spoke to us that day will forever be embedded in our minds & hearts. After our talk, she told our adoption attorney & social worker she wanted us to travel to meet her, attend an ultrasound appointment & find out the gender of the baby in person. We were absolutely blown away, thrilled & blessed beyond measure by her invitation. It was truly a dream come true for us & something we thought we'd probably never have the opportunity to do.
At the time, we were living in Canada (long story short, my husband played football in the Canadian Football League for 5 years). We had just finished up Cary's football season in Ontario & were packing to make the road trip back to Louisiana for the off-season. We excitedly altered our travel plans & headed to Georgia instead for one of the most beautiful experiences of our life. We were able to meet Izzy's birth mom & her family, attend an ultrasound appointment & see a little bit of the place where we'd be traveling back to for the birth. Meeting C was a surreal experience...I shared a little bit about it either this month in my post "H is for Hug" Check it out here if you want to hear more about that grace filled meeting.
After meeting, hugging, crying & getting to know each other a little bit more, it was time for the ultrasound. During the ultrasound appointment, Cary & I fought back tears & gripped each other's hands the entire time. I remember looking at C more than I looked at the screen & praying for her heart. I remember trying to commit everything about those moments to memory so that one day I'd be able to tell our daughter every detail. We were quiet at first & not sure how to act out of respect & sensitivity to C, but she assured us that she wanted to see us excited & enjoying the experience... Just another example of her selflessness & love. My heart was overflowing with gratitude for C & filled with awe over the perfect little life we saw moving around on the screen. I'll never forget hearing the words, "It's a girl!" & being handed the pink heartbeat keepsake bear. That pink bear was symbolic of all our hopes & dreams for a child...I hugged it tightly & thanked the Lord for guiding us to the precious baby girl we would soon meet & call our daughter. We will be forever grateful to Izzy's birth mom for gifting us with that experience.
That entire day was a huge one in our journey. Our hearts began to understand the strength & bravery of birth moms in a whole new way. We were given our first glimpse into open adoption & it changed us forever.
Hope y'all are enjoying reading along as I share our story! Search #btgadoption on Instagram for more beautiful, honest, inspiring & raw adoption stories.