Saturday, February 8, 2014

We're Home!

We are home!  After 7 weeks in the NICU, we are finally at home as a family under one roof.  Kynley  finally figured out how to eat from a bottle, which is what was keeping us in the hospital.  I was beginning to think it would never happen!  We have spent 7 long weeks spending the night in the hospital, learning how to care for and feed our little girl, learning about preemie babies and trying to get a baby GIRL nursery together! :)

It feels SO good to be home all together!  It is crazy to think that Clay and I left the house one morning headed to a meeting, and the next time we would be home together as a family was 7 weeks later with a precious baby girl!  It has been the best few days spending time together, and even walking around with Kynley from room to room!  We don't know what to do without all the cords! :)  

As glad as we are to be outside of the walls of the hospital, we are still having to be very cautious in what Kynley is exposed to.  Because she is a preemie, she is at high risk of infection.  We could be back in the hospital from something as simple as a cough.  Not only that, but we are in the middle of flu and RSV/cold season so that gives us that much more reason to be cautious.  Our doctors have strongly recommended that we not go out to public places and strictly limit our visitors at least until these seasons are over.  While we cannot wait to show her off to the world, we are going to have to take the advice of our doctors.  We would appreciate your understanding as we wait it out over the coming weeks so Kynley can grow healthier and stronger!    

We are anxiously awaiting the day that we can introduce her to all the people who have so selflessly given so that she could be a part of family forever, but we know that we must keep her healthy first!  If we have to be restricted in our outings and visitors, we are still thankful that we are able to do that in the comfort of our own home!  

Thank you all for the constant texts, emails, phone calls, gifts and cards - your support and encouragement truly got us through the last 7 weeks!  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our Christmas Blessing

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be writing my next post to announce the fact that we are parents. Kynley Hope was born on December 19th and she is ours!

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write this post.  I know many of you have been waiting patiently to hear the story of our baby girl's arrival, but with all that is going on this is literally the first time I am sitting down at a computer since before Christmas. 
It is so interesting to look at the last post that I wrote, and to read just how heartbroken we were.  We had no clue what the Lord was going to do in our lives; all we knew was that we were to trust Him.  And even in what was such a hard circumstance, I did trust the Lord.  I believed that He was who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.  The fact that God is trustworthy is what walked me through the days and weeks after our disrupt. 
Before I get to the day that Kynley was born, I must tell of what God was doing in my heart leading up to her arrival.  I was already planning out a post for this blog explaining all that God was teaching me, but I never got to sit down and type that out.  The Sunday after our last disrupt the Advent season began.  This year advent was more real to me than ever before.  As I began to read and study about Christ's first coming, I was reminded of the fact that the Israelites had been waiting for years for the Messiah.  Jesus' birth and arrival was greatly anticipated and the fulfillment of years of longing.  This year, more than ever before, I understood how it felt to long and wait for something while trusting in the Lord's timing.  In no way was our wait for a child anything similar to Christ's coming, but God was using our wait to show me how longed for Jesus' coming was.  As I began to think about the night of his birth, I began to imagine how the shepherds must have felt when they heard the announcement of his birth.  And as I pondered that, it became clear to me that Jesus' birth brought something into the world that was powerful:  HOPE.  What hope his arrival brought!  God's promises would now be fulfilled.  Death defeated.  Sin paid for.  Eternal life with the Lord now possible.  His birth ushered hope into the world like never before.  And in the midst of the waiting that I was personally walking through, hope was found. 
Many were asking me how I was doing during that time and even though it was hard, I was filled with hope.  God was meeting me in the midst of confusion and giving me secure ground that I could walk on:  He can be trusted.  He has a plan.  No matter what happened to us, my hope was found outside of this earth, in the person of Jesus.  And I realized that just as Christ's first coming was greatly anticipated and ushered in HOPE, so should I be longing for and awaiting for Jesus' coming again. 
So that is where I was on December 18th when Clay and I arrived for an already scheduled meeting with our adoption agency.  We had asked the agency for a meeting to discuss where we were at after the disrupt we had just walked through. We sat down with the owner of our agency, and caught up for a few minutes before we expressed to her that we just wanted to touch base and see where we were at in the process now.  She said that she wanted to hear where we were at to see just how we were healing and processing after the disrupt.  Clay looked at me and I nodded as he answered her, "Well, to be perfectly honest, we have prayed every day since our disrupt that we would just get a phone call to go to the hospital. We are just ready to be parents."  The owner understood and told us that while that does happen it does not happen often, but she did want to tell us about a specific situation in which she thought we might be a good match.  But she just wanted to know if we were ready for that. 
She then explained that there was a specific birth mom that the staff had been praying about in matching with us, but they had not mentioned it to us because the timing was just too close to our disrupt.  This mom was not due until February so they had time to pray and wait and give us some distance and healing from our last situation.  They had waited to match this mom because she had requested specific things that lined up perfectly with us.  However, on Tuesday (the day before our meeting), the birthmother had a scheduled doctor's visit and had asked to look at books after that.  They already knew that we were scheduled for a meeting the next day, so they showed her our book on the stipulation that we might come back and say no because we were not ready.  The birthmother looked at our book and selected us to be the parents but she understood all that we had just walked through and was willing to wait to hear what we would say. 
As she was telling us about this, I was sitting there thinking how soon February was!  Oh my goodness! I never expected to find out that there was a potential birthmother at this meeting!  As the owner of our agency was finishing telling us about this situation, her phone rang so she left the room to take the call.  This was the perfect time because Clay and I could sit and process together about what we had just heard.  After a few moments, we both knew that we were interested and wanted to hear more about this particular birthmom.  The owner came back in the room and sat down with us.  We expressed to her that we were interested in finding out more information about this mom. 
She then said, "Now you said that you were wanting a phone though.  You just wanted to go to the hospital.  Now, if that were to ever happen would you want the 10 day revocation period to be over so you wouldn't have to risk the emotion of another loss or would you want to risk it and be there at the hospital?"  We both answered that we thought we would be willing to risk the emotions of it if it meant that we could be at the hospital.  She then looked right at Clay and I and said,"Well that phone call I just received was from the caseworker with the birthmom I was just telling you about.  She is at the hospital and in labor and at a 7." 
I WAS SHOCKED.  Of course, we both said "WHAT?!"  and she answered us that it was true.  I think she said, "You could be parents today."  We immediately prayed together, and discussed a few more details before she told us we could get away for a few minutes to discuss privately what we wanted to do.  Clay looked right at me and said, "I don't need to discuss anything.  This is exactly what we have prayed for."  I was sure too.  So we looked at her and said that we were in and asked what we needed to do next.  She said, "You need to get in your car and drive to the hospital." 
We got in the car in a complete daze and headed to the hospital.  We didn't tell anyone we were headed there and just drove and talked.  As we drove I told Clay that I thought part of this baby girl's name was Hope just because of all that I had been learning in the weeks before.  We got to the hospital and met the birthmother.  I can't even describe the moments we had together as we were swapping stories and trying to get to know one another.  It was beautiful.  Within the first hour of meeting her, she quoted a passage of Scripture to us that had been a part of her decision to place for adoption.  Romans 5:3-5.  It says: 
"3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
And there it was again:  HOPE.  It was surely a part of her name.  As we decided on the first name Kynley, we asked the birthmom to help us pick her middle name.  I'll never forget her looking at me and saying, "It's Hope.  That is her name.  Because she is giving me hope and she is bringing hope to you." 
After sitting and waiting all day, Kynley Hope was born at 1:21 a.m. on December 19th.  We were able to be right outside the door and could hear everything as we waited for her to arrive.  She was born at 33 weeks so the NICU team was ready and waiting for her.  We were able to be with her right away as they were working on her.  The moments are a blur but also ones I will never forget.  There in front of me was this perfect little baby girl and she was ours.  And not even 24 hours before we were still trusting in God's perfect timing and not knowing that He was about to bless our socks off.  
After they worked on her and got her stable, they brought her back into the labor and delivery room where Clay and I were sitting with the birthmother.  They wheeled her in and let us look at her through the small isolette she was in.  The birthmother got to stick her hands through the holes and touch her for the frist time.  Then it was Clay and I's turn.  I stuck my hand through the hole and felt this tiny little hand wrap around my finger, and I melted.  The emotions in that moment are hard to describe.  I lost it.  And I turned around and looked over my shoulder and saw the brithmom in the bed and she was smiling through tears as she said, "I am so happy. Can you give me a hug?"  Such a beautiful moment that was full of opposing emotions.  A hugely hard moment for her but also one full of joy for us.  But she was still happy for us in the midst of it all.  Adoption involves so many different emotions, and that is what makes it so beautiful.  
We are so humbled at God's working on our behalf.  And we are humbled by the immense amount of support and encouragement we have received from all of you.  Kynley is doing well, but we are still in the NICU.  She is doing well in every single area except for feeding.  This is normal for preemies as they are not born knowing how to do that.  Once she improves in her eating, we will get to go home.  
Please keep praying for us as we are waiting to go home.  And please keep praying for the precious woman who gave us this precious gift out of her love for this baby. 
We are praising God for this Christmas blessing!  She is forever ours! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

An Update

As I am sitting down to write this, I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide my words and give me strength to type them.  

We must update you on our journey, and ask for your prayers.  Two days ago we went with our birthmother to a scheduled doctor's appointment.  Her blood pressure was sky high so they sent her straight over to the hospital to induce.  Everything was going really well; the entire day was completely normal.  Once we were settled in at the hospital, our birthmother decided she could not go through with the adoption.  I wish I could give you every detail of our day so that you could understand how completely surprised we and our agency were, but those details are irrelevant.  And I want to respect this woman and not include unnecessary details.  

Needless to say, we are left heartbroken, confused, sad and clinging to the Lord.  We don't understand this part of our story and may never understand it but are left to trust in God's sovereign hand over our lives.  The range of emotions we have felt in the last 48 hours are enough to make one feel exhausted.  We went with a house ready and bags packed only to come home without a precious baby in our arms. This loss is great and deep and very real.  

I explain our emotions only to show our need for your prayers.  I must go back and quote something I wrote just a little over a week ago: 

" this circumstance came into play we both knew that it was news to be celebrated.  And we also knew that were a disrupt to occur again, this would be something that we would need to walk through in the context of community."

We need you.  We need your encouragement.  We need your prayers.  This baby boy needs your prayers.  This birthmother needs your prayers.  Please be praying for us and this entire situation.  

I must also reference one other thing I wrote in that post last week:  

"So - no matter what comes our way in the next few weeks, I am trusting in the Lord.  He is before me, and I will dwell in His presence.  His faithfulness will be our shield and he will satisfy us no matter our circumstance."

I am praising the Lord for preparing our hearts as we headed into the final days before this baby's birth.  Even in the midst of our hurt and confusion, the promises of His word are becoming a beautiful reality.  Things like a peace that passes understanding, God's nearness to the brokenhearted, and the fact that our God is the Good Shepherd who cares deeply for His own.  He will sustain us.  He will carry us.  And I must keep my eyes on Jesus.  

Thank you for your support of our entire journey.  This is a part of our story that we may never understand, but Clay and I still beg for God's glory to be on display even in the midst of such great loss.    We love you all.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2013 Scripture Calendar Giveaway

We are going to have a fun giveaway today because we love you guys and are so thankful for all of you who have supported our adoption journey.  {And because it's almost Christmas and I'm in the spirit already!}

The winner will receive this 2013 Scripture Calendar from Fresh Entity.  They are 5x7 in size, professionally printed on watercolor paper, and come gifted in a cloth bag.  

I love love love mine, and can't wait to get the new one each year.  You can frame them or hang them ... but the best thing is you have Scripture encouraging you each day!  

Please check out the Fresh Entity shop {} for other amazing products like prints and gift tags. The owner of the shop is Kimmie, a fellow adoptive mother and dear friend of mine. 

To enter, please leave a comment below with your first name and email address.  

The giveaway will close at 12 p.m. on Friday, November 15.  The winner will be notified by email.  

Thank y'all for your support of us during this journey!  We are so thankful for each of you!  

ALSO -- get ready for something super fun that our adoption agency is doing for us for the rest of the month ... more details will come soon but it's going to be fun! :)  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nearing the End

It's a little after midnight, and I just sat down at my computer after spending the evening cleaning out my pantry.  I threw out expired items, wiped down and cleaned every shelf, and rearranged everything. It's safe to say that I am nesting.  With all that is about to happen in our lives, I'm sure I could be doing something more profitable than cleaning out my pantry ... but, no actually -  that had to be done too! ;)

I've spent the last week or so "getting ready" (as much as possible) for Carter's arrival.  Clay was lucky enough to be out of town last week, but this week his honey-do list is a mile long.  It still seems like we have so much more to do, but much preparation has been made for this little one to come into our lives.  

Yet even as I work to get everything done before the baby, a small part of me is wondering if I am just keeping myself busy so that I can't worry about the unknown.  Carter's due date is a little over 2 weeks away, and that means that we are 2 weeks away from seeing how this all plays out.  After our disrupt in June, I thought I would not share with the world when we were matched with a birth mom again until after the baby's arrival.  But as this circumstance came into play we both knew that it was news to be celebrated.  And we also knew that were a disrupt to occur again, this would be something that we would need to walk through in the context of community.  

[This community -- you guys -- have been the greatest, most humbling source of encouragement to us.  From the garage sale to the chili supper to the phone calls to the gifts and the showers ... Clay and I have been overwhelmed to say the least.  Adoption truly is a community effort - and all of you have helped to solidify that in my mind.  I know that God has just been rejoicing in your obedience to Him, and I am so thankful that this adoption world has come into my life. "Thank you" seems trite and understated, but I don't know how else to phrase how we feel.  We love you all.]

The reality of our situation is that we do not know what will happen when this baby is born.  Lord willing, this child is our son.  He will come into our home and be a part of our family forever.  However, the law has not changed since June and our state gives the birthmother a waiting period in which she can change her mind on her decision to place this child for adoption.  I have known this since day one.  

As we've neared this day, I am not facing it with as much dread and fear as I once thought I would.  Or maybe the fear is not what I thought it would be.  My heart has changed so much since getting to know this dear woman who is carrying our child.  I genuinely love her, and not just because of what she is giving us.  The fear in my mind is that this situation would not turn out as beautiful as it seems to have become.  God has been in every detail, of that we are sure.  It's undeniable.  And so as we walk into our final days of trusting Him in this circumstance, I must walk in faith.   

The truth is that regardless of what happens, this situation is still going to be beautiful.  My heart has changed because of knowing her, and I have learned new aspects of the Lord and how He loves me.  I pray that she has been able to see Christ's love through Clay and I as we have gotten to know her.  One huge lesson I've learned in every single step of this process is that I am not in control.  However, God is still trustworthy;  His plan is still in place no matter what happens.  

This morning I sent these verses to a friend who is walking a road that is hard to understand.  God used them to encourage me with where I am today.  Adoption has brought me to a place where I am learning to dwell in the presence of the Lord again.  I love that this psalm promises that those who dwell with the Lord will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  That means that God must be in front of me if I am abiding in His shadow.  What a promise!  

So - no matter what comes our way in the next few weeks, I am trusting in the Lord.  He is before me, and I will dwell in His presence.  His faithfulness will be our shield and he will satisfy us no matter our circumstance.  

Please be praying for us and for our birth mom as we walk into the next few weeks.  Pray that we might have gospel conversations with her, and for a healthy baby boy.  Pray for our birth mom as she nears the toughest part of this journey.  My heart has taken on new levels of emotion concerning what she is about to walk through.  And finally, ask for God's glory to be on display.  

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Last Thursday Clay and I were given the most incredible gift - we were able to go to an ultrasound with our birthmother.  I never knew if I would have the opportunity to have this experience, and God was so gracious to give us this gift.  It was incredible.  It was surreal.  It was perfect.

We drove to meet our adoption coordinator and birth mom for lunch before we headed over to have the ultrasound.  It was such a great time to get to know each other better and spend some more time together.

We then drove over to the ultrasound center, and waited our turn.  I could feel my stomach getting more excited by the minute.  We had to wait a while, but again I was thankful for more time and more conversation with our birth mom.  We were able to have some sweet moments that I will never forget while we were waiting for her name to be called.

They called her back first and did a pretty thorough ultrasound before coming out to get me and Clay.  The longer she was back there, the more nervous and ready I got!  The tech came out and got us and told us as we were walking back to the room that everything looked great!  What great news!  She also told us that she had gotten an incredible look at his entire face and he had chubby cheeks and perfect lips.  I was so ready to see that little face!

We got into the room, and the tech then proceeded to show us everything.  She went over the top and out of her way to make sure that we got to see everything we wanted to see.  We got to see his spine, brain, kidneys, stomach, bladder and his heart.  We even got to hear his heartbeat!  She even spent quite a bit of time trying to get him to move his hands so we could see his little face.  It took some prodding, but eventually he began to move his hands enough so that we could his little face peeking through.

At this point our birthmother kept looking up at me and asking, "Isn't he beautiful, Stace?" and my heart was overwhelmed.  Yes, he is beautiful.  But she was beautiful as well.  She was so thrilled for us in that moment, and my heart swelled with gratefulness for this dear woman who is making a huge sacrifice so that we might become parents.  It was a moment that I have tucked away in my heart and I will never forget.  The beauty of God's hand in our adoption was evident in that room.

When we got in the car to leave, Clay said "I didn't know what I was looking at for like the first 20 minutes!"  I reassured him that is probably how most first-time dads are.  :)

What a special day that I never want to forget!  We got quite a few pictures and I will always cherish the fact that I have ultrasound pictures of our baby boy.  What a huge blessing from God that we were able to be there!

We also have a name for this precious gift from God!

{this is his eye, nose and he is sucking his thumb}

His name is:  Carter James 

Carter is the last name of Clay's mentor in ministry.  James is from the verse that was on our adoption t-shirts, and was also Clay's grandfather's name.  We love his name and cannot wait to see his sweet face in person!  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My heart is full as I sit down to write this post.  I would have never guessed that God would teach me so much about Himself, His provision, His people, and His heart for the least of these through our adoption journey.  His faithfulness to us has literally brought me to my knees in praise and has comforted me when I've cried out for strength.  What a privilege I count it that God would have us walk this path; how very thankful I am that He allowed me to experience His heart in this way. 

Throughout my life I have seen God relentlessly and patiently teach me lessons of His grace.  I know that following Him is worth it; He has proven that to me time and again.  I have walked intimately beside Him in mountaintop moments, and I have been unknowingly carried by Him in the valley.  No matter where I find myself in life, no matter how incredible or bleak my circumstances may seem - His grace is always there.  It is never changing, always present and a beautiful picture of God's heart.

When Clay and I began to talk of starting a family, my heart soared with dreams of becoming a mother.  Beside becoming a wife, there was nothing else I had dreamt more about.  Unlike some couples who begin the journey to starting a family with lofty expectations, we knew it would be an uphill battle.  But even there in the midst of what is so hard to understand, God's grace was poured out on my mind, my heart, my understanding.  He has given me faith to trust in His sovereign will.  He chooses when to open and close the womb, and I trust in that with all that I am.

Then this adoption thing came into the picture.  I've always had a sensitive spirit to adoption; it has always intrigued me and I've thought it would be a part of my life for a while.  But I would have never guessed how God might use it to teach me more of Himself.  God has taught me that He is sovereign - He puts the pieces of our lives together to make a beautiful story that can reflect His grace.  When making our profile book for birthmothers to view, the pressure was gone because it is God who puts the families together and not how good I can make myself look.  When worry and fear wanted to creep in as the months of waiting dragged on, His sovereignty was a comfort and the very thing that sustained me through those days.  When we walked through the disrupt in June, His grace and provision were sure - they never wavered.  His grace has literally sustained me. For the first time in my life, I have learned that God's sovereignty is not just a fact but a comfort in all things.

God has taught me of the importance and design behind the body of Christ.  While it's a catchy slogan on a silly t-shirt we made, the phrase "It Takes a Village" could not be more true.  God has used so many of you to teach me of His provision for us.  We have been overwhelmed by the amount of financial support we have been shown, but also just by the fact that this child is loved and prayed for already by so many.  Thank you, very much, for walking this road with us so well.

I have seen anew that God is intimately involved in our daily lives.  He is not just our saving grace, but our daily grace as well.  I cannot even begin to tell you all the ways that He has shown how intimately involved He is in our lives every moment of every day.  Whether it was a phone call or a text sent at just the right time, or the exact amount of money needed in that moment or Scripture coming to mind just as I begin to lose hope - His intimate attention in all things has been evident.

Most importantly, adoption has given me a new understanding of redemption.  It's what God is all about.  It is why we gather together as a church body to celebrate, and it is why we go out from the walls of the church with a message to declare to the world.  Redemption - a rescue - is the essence of the gospel.  What a privilege God has given to Clay and I to be a part of His rescue through the story of our adoption.  To take this precious baby boy that is coming our way in the next few weeks, and to rescue him, give him unconditional love and call him our own is such a privilege that I cannot comprehend.  It is overwhelming beautiful, and absolutely a gorgeous picture of God's same rescue of us.  I only pray that one day this baby boy will look deep into the story of his own life to see that it is a mere reflection of the redemption and rescue that God intended for him from the beginning of time.  That he might come to know, understand, love and be overwhelmed by this same grace that is humbling me now.  That he might see that Jesus is THE rescuer of our souls.

And then I think of his birthmother.  This precious incredible woman that God has given us the grace to meet and come to love.  And again, the picture that adoption paints of redemption comes sweeping into my heart over her.  I long for her to know and understand this same grace of God that has come into my  life.  I want her to know that God's heart is for a rescue and redemption to occur in all circumstances, and I am asking that God might use the birth of this baby to teach her of His great love for her.  Would you join me in praying these things?

Clay and I are so humbled that God might allow us to be given this opportunity to know Him more and to make His name known.  We are praising Him in every part of this journey and excited to see what lies ahead!

Israel, put your hope in the Lord, 
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption. 
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. 
Psalm 130:7-8