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.