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Adoption: The Heart Of A Mother’s Sacrifice

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We don’t show many people this picture. There have always been aspects of our adoption that we want to keep private, but today this picture so accurately describes what I want to say. It was taken the first time we met our birth mom. It was such a flurry of emotions that day. We were so anxious about her liking us, whether or not we would feel a connection, and if we would be what she was hoping we would be. Before we left our time together that day, we prayed over her, Viv, and our road ahead. It was a deeply spiritual-emotional experience; one I can’t really put into words. None of us knew what was coming ahead, but we were bonded forever in this moment; going before Jesus together, asking Him to join us on our journey, and praying for provision along the way for us all.

Because so many of our friends had grown their families through adoption, we thought we were going into the process fairly “eyes wide open”. We understood the cost, the paperwork, the process. But what we couldn’t have prepared for is who our birth mom would be. Putting a face to a name and beautiful humanity to the woman carrying what would be our child. I understood (or at least thought I did) the sacrifice this amazing woman would make on behalf of her child, but it is an entirely different thing seeing that sacrifice first hand. She wanted nothing more than the absolute best for Viv, and although I could’ve spouted off that sentiment before our adoption, to see the depths of despair and loss that she was willing to go to for the sake of her child was… the greatest example of motherhood I have ever seen. And I don’t think I couldn’t fully understand that before becoming a mom myself. Now however, understanding how I would do anything for Viv, it breaks my heart and at the same time DAILY restores my ability to be a sacrificial mother when I think of what her birth mom has done. I did not expect to learn as much as I have from her. But, like every aspect of this process, we are so thankful for unexpected provision.

–Leah

*Leah is a guest blogger for us. To see Leah’s posts click the “Leah – guest Blogger” tag over on the right.

Welcome to Leah – Guest Adoption Blogger

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Hi! My name is Leah and this is my sweet family. After 9 years of marriage, my husband Paul and I decided to grow our family. At that time we knew our hearts were (and are!) called to grow our family through adoption, and we began our journey to our sweet little Vivi. Ironically, we waited almost exactly 9 months for Vivian to join our family, and traveled to Arizona to meet our daughter and complete our adoption. While there, we fell in love not only with our precious girl, but her beautiful birthmom and biological brother too. In that time we had together we experienced to the fullest extent the loss, the love, the sacrifice, and the redemption of adoption. Those are days I will treasure in my heart for the rest of my life. We are planning to adopt again in the next year or so, and although we have been stretched more than I ever thought possible through adoption, we know beyond any doubt this is where we have been called. It’s so hard to accurately describe what adoption means to us, but I am excited to share more of our journey.

 

Leah is a guest blogger – and we look forward to seeing Leah’s posts and messages in the days ahead!

Adoption Joy Through Adoption Heartbreak – Sheldon and Amber’s Story

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“We are thankful to God for his blessing to us.”

There are many sweet and beautiful children that have come home through domestic adoption.  In many ways domestic adoption is relatively quick and painless as far as adoptions go, but we all know that there are also many twists and turns that can occur, and those traversing the road of domestic adoption do need to prepare as best as possible for those twists and turns. No two adoptions are the same, so one family’s story may be somewhat different from another’s.

During the course of a little over a year Sheldon and Amber, one of our amazing adoptive couples went through much heartbreak on their domestic adoption journey. As you read their story you will wonder why this heartbreak happened to them. Why they had to go through not just one, but two failed adoption matches before their precious and sweet bay girl finally came to their family.

Experience the sadness and disappointment as you read Sheldon and Amber’s story here, and celebrate their immense joy as their baby girl comes into their arms. Glean some wisdom, insight and inspiration from them as they share how despite the sadness, they are grateful for their broken journey, because God was able to show His faithfulness and share with Sheldon and Amber the beautiful tapestry of their lives He is weaving:

“In April 2013 we started our adoption journey. Our Home Study was completed and profiles ready to go.  We signed up with an agency in Utah and had a rocky road in the matching process.  We were matched with a birthmother in July but she changed her mind about us and was matched with another family.  This was devastating and made us question what was wrong with us. Our case worker kept telling us there was a baby out there for us, but we had our doubts.

In August of 2013 our social worker (Tom) left the agency and we were soon forgotten within the agency. We became discouraged with the agency and decided to sign up with a private attorney who told us he would have something for us in a month or so. Meanwhile “Tom” called us and told us he had started a new agency and asked if we were interested in a profile presentation. We said yes. The birth mother eventually changed her mind about adoption.

November 2013 we are very discouraged with our choice in agency and private attorney. We contacted “Tom” and he suggested getting ahold of Deb with Mother Goose Adoptions in Arizona. He told us they were a good agency and had lots of successful placements. We filled out our paperwork and submitted it the week before Thanksgiving.

December 2013 we were officially approved to be presented with Mother Goose/Creating Christian Families. We presented on seven cases that month.  We knew our home study was going to expire in March and decided that if we weren’t matched before then we would not renew.

January 3, 2014 we got an email saying we were matched with a birth mother due on March 12. We were very excited that we were finally chosen. We went to work updating our home study and clearances. We even decided to decorate the room for the baby boy. We knew there was no way she would change her mind.

In February we were getting closer to the birth, and we also had a vacation planned and went to Disney World.  We received a phone call from the private attorney telling us he had a match for us, but we told him we were matched and were just waiting for the birth. The last day of our vacation things started to unravel with the match. Our birth mother stopped communicating with us and the only information received was through the agency. We suspected something was up and had Mother Goose start digging for some answers.

On March 3 we got “the call” from Deb. Our birth mother had been scamming us and at least another couple from California. All she wanted was money. She didn’t plan on placing and a lot of the information we had on her was a lie.  Our hearts were crushed, and sadness and disbelief took over.  How could this happen to us? Why did God want us to suffer through this pain? Were we really meant to parent another child? Could we afford to continue on after losing money on this? We prayed to our Lord and Savior and we got our answer: “Continue on, there is a child for you!” People kept telling us to continue on, that there was a baby out there for us. Friends and family prayed for us but the hurt was still there. Everyone kept saying there is a baby that needs you but we just didn’t want the hurt again.

March 19, 2014 Deb called and said the attorney we had worked with on the failed match had contacted her with a possible baby and wanted to know if we were interested. Of course we were interested, because we had presented on a few other cases but nothing came from them. We were presented to the birth family and then waited to hear.

On March 31, 2014 we were officially matched and waited for doctor’s appointment for a due date. We found out that the due date was the end of May.  Praise God, we were matched four weeks to the day that our last one failed.

May 20, 2014 our beautiful baby girl was born.  We couldn’t believe it happened. God is so good. We are so thankful to everyone who helped with this adoption.

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This precious girl was worth the wait!

  • We are thankful our old social worker left the first agency we were with.
  • We are thankful the private attorney didn’t follow through with his promises.
  • We are thankful to learn about Deb and Creating Christian Families.
  • We are thankful to the birthmother who scammed us. What? Did I just say that? Yes. Without her we would never had renewed our home study or met our attorney.
  • We are thankful to our attorney who thought of us when this case came up.
  • We are thankful to the social worker, who did most of the work.
  • We are thankful to God for his blessing to us.

Our one piece of advice is this: trust in God’s plan. It may be difficult, it may cause heart break, it may cost money, but your child is out there and once you hold them nothing else matters.

God had a very complex puzzle but now all the pieces fit together and the end result is a portrait of a happy family holding a very beautiful baby girl.”

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“God had a very complex puzzle but now all the pieces fit together and the end result is a portrait of a happy family holding a very beautiful baby girl.”

 

And to close, all we can say is simply “Amen!”

Matt & Nikki’s Adoption Journey – Sweet Baby Girl

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Matt & Nikki’s Precious Baby Girl!

Just a few short weeks ago a special heavenly gift came into the arms of one of our families: Matt and Nikki.  Their domestic adoption process was relatively short, but the journey to their daughter was born in their family some years ago.  Many adoption stories are shared by the adoptive moms in blogs and posts across cyberspace, and this story too is shared from the heart of a new mother.  Enjoy Nikki’s story about God’s faithfulness through the ups and downs of their adoption journey:

“We started our journey of adoption a little over 2 years ago. At the time we knew we wanted to adopt and had known since before we got married, but we weren’t sure which path to follow. We spent a lot of time in prayer and listening to God. We had a very close friend that had adopted domestically around the time we had our middle son. It was a very positive experience and I was open to Domestic Adoption, but Matt wasn’t at the time.  We started doing research on the computer and saw a lot on Ethiopia Adoption at the same time we seemed to run into several families that adopted from Ethiopia and were connected with a lot of them. All signs led to Ethiopia, so after a lot of agency research we signed a contract with our international adoption agency. We moved quickly through paperwork to get on the list with them and in February 2011 we were officially waiting for our daughter. To be honest from the beginning I was not sure Ethiopia was where our daughter was coming from, but knew we were on this path for a reason.

After about 12 months of waiting I felt a tug back towards domestic adoption and started looking into it again. At this time Ethiopia was very slow and the list wasn’t moving. Our agency decided to allow concurrent adoptions which opened a door for us.  Through the agency’s Facebook page I found Dawn Wright, a consultant with “Christian Adoption Consultants” (CAC) and what she did for them. In Feb 2012 (our 1 year wait point) I contacted her through Facebook with a lot of questions. She was so great at getting back to me and sending me information. Our contact went on for months and finally I approached Matt again about domestic adoption.  He had a lot of fears but most of all it was with the Birth Mother and the kind of adoption we would have.  I asked him to pray about it and told him I really believed this is how we were to expand our family. Finally in May he agreed to move forward with CAC and we signed our contract – BEST decision we have ever made! We applied for any African-American baby girls we saw posted about that were in our budget (that was hard too, I wanted to increase it so many times). Dawn always assured me our time would come and with the right budget!

The week we were chosen by C’s (Our daughter) birth mom I was done (yes it was only 3 months after signing our contract, but for us it had been years of waiting to complete our family).  It felt like every situation we applied for we were told NO and it really started to hurt! We actually were told no with the Birth Mom we ultimately were matched with. That same week we applied to two other situations and got “No'”s again so it was 3 in one week and we were feeling like it would never happen. We thought it was because we already had 3 boys and a big family.  We honestly thought this would take years to hear “Yes”.  Being that we were in ‘a funk’ we decided to take the boys out on the golf cart to the park and play with them. Three minutes into our ride my cell phone rang and the name Deb O’Kane (Deb is the Executive Director of Mother Goose Adoptions & Creating Christian Families) came up, I froze! Why was Deb calling us? We had her number stored in our phone from a situation that didn’t work out with us about a month earlier. I asked Matt to stop and answered… Deb asked if we had been matched yet (she knew about the other situations) I said “No, why?”, and she told us about our Birth Mom Steph that we had been her second choice and the first one didn’t work out. It wasn’t her fault just wasn’t a good fit. I really wasn’t sure what was happening I mean we actually got a YES and It didn’t matter that we were second choice right now we were MATCHED!! Within 5 minutes we were driving back to the house to get on a conference call with our Birth Mom Steph, I almost threw up! Deb was great at facilitating the call and helping us through it asking questions to both of us.  I hung up cried and called Dawn screaming!!! None of it felt real till late the next day when our contracts from Mother Goose came through and then it sunk in we got a YES!! Someone wanted us to parent their daughter.

All of this was mid-August and although it seemed like the longest period of our lives it went fast. I talked to Steph at least once a week on the phone and multiple times through text messages. To be honest there were a lot of times I thought this isn’t going to happen, but Deb and Dawn always talked me off the ledge and ultimately reminded me this was in God’s hands and not mine. I was close with Steph and felt like we were bonding so I kept that feeling close to my heart.

On Sunday, September 15th Steph sent a text at 9:30pm that her water broke (2 weeks early) and she was going to the hospital! We moved fast packing, booking flights and getting the boys taken care of.  It was crazy in our house that night. At 1:00am we got another text that said “False alarm sending me home”  We were confused (since we thought the water broke) and sad because we were so ready to meet Steph and our daughter. On Monday I talked to Steph a lot on text and she wasn’t feeling well and still thought her water broke. She decided to wait till Tuesday to see her Dr. and ask to be induced. On Tuesday, September 17th at 5:30am my phone rang and it was Steph crying at the hospital and in labor at 5 centimeters!!! I started crying and wishing I could be there. She was alone because her boyfriend was home with her 2 and 1 year old and it was 4:30am there. We told her we would be there as soon as possible and to hang in there, it was all going to be OK, and we loved her so much! It makes me cry just thinking about it, she really is a part of our family and I wanted to be there for her. The baby was really the last thing from my mind.  We re-booked flights that had been canceled hours earlier and got the boys awake and ready to school telling them where we were going. By the time we were driving to the airport at 9:30am our time (8:30am Central time) our daughter was born! We texted back and forth until the plane took off for Chicago. Steph asked what we were naming our daughter and we told her “C” and asked if they wanted to give her a middle name which she did. “C”‘s paternal grandmother had passed away recently and we chose to use her name as “C”‘s middle name!

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Our Birth Mom, Steph holding our angel!

When we finally arrived at the hospital they would only let one of us back and I went alone to meet Steph and our sweet baby girl for the first time. It was surreal, I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and was proud of her and she handed me our daughter! I met one of her sisters who was so nice and left so Matt could meet his daughter! We spent the next couple of days all day in the hospital room with Steph and the baby talking and getting to know her better so we could share information with  “C” in the future.  It was way out of  our comfort zones, but so worth it! We met the Birth Father Denota and biological siblings “A” and “L” which was priceless! On Thursday morning we headed to the hospital to pick up our daughter at discharge. This was a very hard day for me. I cried all morning at the hospital while we all filled out paperwork, I was so happy we were adopting our daughter but sad for Steph and what she must have felt at the time. She was calm and seemed very happy with her decision. The case worker and Matt went to get the cars and Steph carried the baby on the wheelchair in her car seat out with me next to her. When she handed me “C” I fell apart! I hugged her and told her thank you would never be enough for the blessing she has given our family. We had plans for lunch with the family on Friday after papers were signed so we knew we would see each other again.

Pulling out of there was surreal, we had a daughter!!! That night and the next morning went very slow… would she be with us forever or would we have to return her? We headed to South Chicago still not knowing if the relinquishment papers were signed and stared at the phone in silence. At 12:20pm the case worker called to say congratulations! We were so elated and thankful! It was over and we had a daughter.

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Me holding our precious daughter

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Matt and me at the hospital holding our miracle

We picked up the whole family Stephanie, Denota, and kids and had lunch and took lots of pictures! It was a great experience and one we will never forget! I still talk to Steph at least once a week on text and we are sending pictures and updates monthly. We hope they will stay in touch with us, we would like to take “C” to Chicago to see them next year!

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A picture of the baby’s Birth Family – A blessing to spend time together

The time I had getting to know Steph and her family is a time I will always treasure! They are a part of our family and we love them! The only regret I have is that we don’t have a picture with them and us! Hoping to get that next year!  We were so worried about how this would all go and it went great although rocky at times, God was in control the whole time and he knew this was “C”! The best advice I can give anyone adopting is get to know your Birth Mom and family talk to them and keep open lines of communications. I think Steph always felt like she could talk to me and it helped form our bond. Step out of your comfort zone, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find! We are so in love with our daughter and are 100% sure she was meant to be ours. Follow your gut feeling, at the end of the day we  know we were led to our International Adoption Agency to find Dawn to bring us to our precious angel, and that is just fine with us!!  We are so thankful Dawn at Christian Adoption Consultants and Deb at Mother Goose Adoptions!!

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Adorable and Precious Baby Girl!

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Our Homecoming at the airport – Big Brothers meet Baby Sister!

What an awesome story – Thanks so much to Nikki and Matt, and their boys for sharing their story.  May God continue to bless you all beyond measure in the months and years to come!

An Adoption Story – Cody and Shaunti

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Cody & Shaunti with their sweet baby boy

Just recently an amazing couple, Cody & Shaunti took placement for adoption of a beautiful baby boy.  Their adoption journey was what we call in the adoption world a “Stork Drop”, where a birth mother has not taken the typical steps to make an adoption plan for her child before delivery.  Like many adoptive families, Cody & Shaunti’s journey to their precious baby boy started long before he was placed in their arms.  You will be inspired and touched as Shaunti shares her heart.

“It was an exciting time for us, I was pregnant for the second time with my third child (we got twin girls the first go round) and so far this pregnancy had been smooth sailing.  We had found out very early on that we were going to have another girl, while we were hoping for a boy we decided that once we had this little one and when the time was right we would try for one more and be done.  What we didn’t know was that option was going to be quickly taken off the table by forces that were completely out of our hands.

At 33 weeks into my second pregnancy I suffered a ruptured uterus (A ruptured uterus is basically when the uterus rips open inside of you causing massive internal bleeding and most often death for the child). With in minutes of getting to the hospital I was on the table being prepped for an emergency c-section. God protected me and our child from a very devastating complication. The doctors came in and told my husband and I that while they were able to repair my uterus it was their VERY strong recommendation that I get my tubes tied because carrying another child would almost certainly produce a repeat outcome and we may not be so lucky next time. It was decided then that I would get my tubes tied.

About 6 months after our third child was born I began longing for a son. I tried to ignore it for a while feeling very selfish as I had three children when many could not have one, but the longing soon turned into a desire that would consume my everyday thoughts. I shared with my husband what I was feeling and to my surprise he too had started longing for a son. I began praying desperately asking God to bless us with a son. I fully believed that if God could give a 90 year old woman a child (Sarah in the Bible) then He could find a way for me to carry a child too if that was His desire.  I prayed constantly and felt so sad month after month and my husband as well. We got to the point where we were begging God to take this desire away from us if it was not His plan to bless us with a son.  The desire never left, there was a constant yearning for a son everyday like it was just an ordinary part of life. Little did we know that God was using this time to change our hearts to open our minds to new possibilities. The possibility of Adoption. While we had thrown the idea around once or twice I had been more set on carrying my “own” child ( I’m stubborn like that) to really see it as a clear path.  Finally it was clear to me that while God Could bless me with a miracle pregnancy this did not seem to be His plan. I went to talk to my husband seriously about adoption, he was totally up for it in fact he had been open to it as a real possibility before I had (stubbornness gets ya every time). 3 years after those first longings for a son we found ourselves lining up paperwork for a social worker and becoming certified to adopt. It went so smooth confirming to my husband that this was the path we were supposed to be on.

We then started working with Tracie at Christian Adoption Consultants and working on getting financing. Once we were financed in June, we began putting our names in to different agencies and the wait began. I would be lying if I said that I was good at waiting, I remember that one week I would feel very discouraged that no one had asked us to present and the next week question if we were ever going to have a son. Silly I know considering we had only put our names out there in June, but at the same time we had been praying for our son for years now.  He had been growing in our hearts for so long. We would see people get matched and I would feel happy for them I never wished I had their baby, I only ever longed for the child God had planned for our family.

On Sunday Sept 1st I got an alert on my phone letting me know that I had received an email. I put my book down opened my email and looked at a Stork drop alert from Mother Goose Adoptions for a sweet little boy. I read over the details and asked my husband if he was interested. Like me he was instantly interested. They were looking for someone local that would be available the next day which we were. I emailed and asked if we could put our names in to be considered. We didn’t hear anything back that night so we figured that it wasn’t meant for us. But that next morning Tracie called and wanted to confirm that we really were interested and we said we were. Then we waited.

Ill be honest when I first heard we would be considered I was more excited then I had been for any other situation. I found myself OCD cleaning the house with my husband as we tried not to be too hopeful but it was hard even he was feeling really excited. As the hours went by we began to think that the mother had chosen someone else, but at 2 pm we got the call that the birth mother wanted to meet us that day! We were beside ourselves excited but nervous and oh we had nothing for this little baby if she decided that she wanted us to raise this sweet boy. We drove to target picked up a few essentials then  went out to meet this sweet momma at 5 pm.  After an hour or so of visiting with the birth mother and her mother, she asked my husband and I if we would adopt that precious little boy that was in my husbands arms (where she had placed him almost immediately). We of course said YES! Our hearts broke for the birth mother and grandmother, we could see how hard this was for them and we are so incredibly grateful for their strength. That night after we did a bit of paper work we were told that we could take our son home with us.

 

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Cody, Shaunti, their new son, and the Birth Mom who chose adoption for her baby

On the drive home it was so surreal, I just kept wanting to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t a dream. My son was in the back seat, in his car seat surrounded by his doting big sisters. The final arrow was in our quiver (reference Psalm 127:3-5) we just thanked God for the whirlwind that was that day, for the blessing he has given us.

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What a miracle and blessing this little guy is!

We truly believe that God intended “P” (the name we settled on after he spent the first day nameless) for our family long before we were ever born that he is the perfect fit for our family.  We would definitely encourage anyone who truly believes that God is leading them to adopt to trust Him fully. God’s timing is perfect, even if you’re like me, impatient and stubborn God will use everything to His glory just as He promises.”

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Doting Big Sisters with their new baby brother

 

It is exciting to be part of Cody & Shaunti’s journey!  We pray blessings over their family, and much joy as they begin this new chapter together.