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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Way to Help

Today officially moves us into the month of October ... which also means that our baby boy is due to make his appearance next month!  This month is going to fly by as we have some baby showers scheduled, and we are working to get our house ready for this little guy.  [Hopefully he will have a name soon!]  

The start of the new month also means that we are creeping closer to the date that all of our adoption funds are due.  While we have seen God work in incredible ways already, we are still needing about $5,000 in order to complete our adoption.  

It still gets to me every time I think about the fact that all we lack is this amount.  Nine months ago, Clay and I sat with fearful hearts as we stepped out in faith and obeyed the calling God had given us to adopt.  Back then, one of our biggest fears was the financial aspect.  God has exceedingly and abundantly provided more than we could have imagined, and He used many of you to bless us and give generously to us as we were working towards our goal.  We have learned more about the body of Christ, and also been challenged in how we give to others.  

We now have one more opportunity for you to help us reach our goal.  We have some incredible friends and family who have graciously offered to host a chili supper and silent auction in order to push us closer to having all the needed funds for our adoption.  

Here are the details:  

WHAT:  Chili Supper and Silent Auction 

WHEN:  Thursday, October 17th

TIME:  Drop-In from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. 

WHERE:  The NEW Benton Event Center -- We are so excited to get to use this new venue!  

COST:  Tickets cost $8 for adults, $4 for children and there is a family maximum of $25.  

We are hoping you and your family (or friends) can make it out and eat a bowl of chili and maybe even bid on an item in the silent auction.  We have had lots of great auction items donated!  

We will be selling tickets beforehand, so please contact Clay or I about who to get them from.  (Text, call, email or facebook us!)  Please contact me with any other questions you may have!  

We are extremely grateful for your support!  It truly does take a village ... and a chili supper, too!     

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Match Day

I want to tell the entire story of the day we got "the" phone call so that one day baby boy can know everything that happened on this fun day.  I am trying to include every detail so that I don't forget even one little part of God's great plan in bringing us our son. 

We got the phone call on a Tuesday, but the story starts the weekend before that day.  In our entire journey of trying to start a family, God has poured His grace out on my emotions and thoughts.  This is a blessing from Him for sure.  However - on this particular weekend - the journey, the waiting, the uncertainty was all beginning to weigh on me.  Usually during these moments, I can turn to Clay and he will point me to the truth of God's Word and I am able to eventually turn my thoughts and feelings over to the Lord and trust Him with it all.  But this weekend was different.  Clay was there too.  We didn't speak much about it, but what little we did it was clear we were both feeling the same thing.

Sunday morning I woke up and felt this heaviness beginning to weigh on me so strongly I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the day without crying.  After church Clay and I went home and ate lunch before he had to go back up to the church.  I had about 2 hours at home to myself, and all I could think about was this heaviness, our baby, our birthmother.  I even walked into our kitchen and prayed, "Is this the week, Lord?"  I quickly told myself to stop clinging to false hope and prayed and asked for more faith in His plan.  It was then time to go back to church, and I drove over with tears welling up in my eyes.  I texted a friend who has walked this same road with huge amounts of trust in God's plan, and just said I was having trouble holding it together and asked her to pray.

After church was over, I was returning a phone call to a neighbor who also happens to work in the adoption world.  She had called about something completely unrelated, but at the end of our conversation asked how I was doing with the adoption.  I wasn't planning to share with her about my feelings during the weekend, but I did.  She said that she did not want to get my hopes up, but often times adoptive parents feel this way right before they are matched.  She believes it is God pushing them to pray even harder for the birthmother and the decision she will be making.  I didn't let myself get too excited about that.  She encouraged me to call our agency and just check in and see what was going on with us, how we could pray for them, and if our book would be shown soon.  I mentioned that fact to Clay, and he said we would talk about it the next day.

Right after this phone call, a dear friend texted me and asked if I wanted to go on a late night walk around her neighborhood.  I thought this might be just what I needed.   We walked and talked, but ended the night on her bed sharing about what God was doing in our lives.  I was able to share with her about this heaviness, and she was so sweet and just prayed over me right there on her bed.  She mentioned the same thing as my neighbor, and prayed for the birthmother and the decision that was going to be made.  Again, I was not reading into either of these conversations.

The next day (Monday), I mentioned to Clay at dinner the idea of calling our agency just to check in with them.  We don't get regular phone calls from them, and I was just dying to know something about anything that could possibly be encouraging to hear.  Clay did not feel like we needed to call them, and asked me to just trust him.  I agreed that I would submit to that idea if that is what he thought was best.

The very next morning (Tuesday), I was about to walk out the door to work when Clay called.  He told me that the owner of agency had just called him.  [What??  We had just talked about how we did not need to contact them the night before!]  She was calling to ask some clarifying questions because she had a birthmom that was going to be viewing profiles that day and she wanted to include ours in the showing.  All we knew was that she is latino and the baby is a boy.  We talked it over, and agreed that we had no reservations about showing our book.  We knew that she had a doctor's appointment around 11:30 a.m. and would look at books after that.  The agency told us she might pick that day, or need a few days to think it over,  or want to look at some more books.

It is not common for us to know that our book was being shown.  Needless to say I was pretty much worthless all day at work.  Every time the phone rang or my office door opened, I was sure it was Clay calling or coming to tell me some big news.  I prayed for this birthmother all day, and my mind could barely think of anything else.  We didn't know if we would hear if she didn't pick us, so by the end of the day when we hadn't heard anything, I was sure that we weren't picked.  I left work and headed home for a few minutes before I had to meet a friend for dinner.  I told Clay that I didn't even want to go to this meeting because I was just sad knowing that we didn't get picked.  I decided that I didn't need to know anymore when our book was being shown. :)  He encouraged me to go on to my dinner meeting and so I drove the 40 minute drive to meet my friend.

As I was pulling into the parking lot of the restaurant, my phone rang.  It was Clay.  I answered and he asked me what I was doing.  I answered that I was meeting a friend for dinner -- didn't he remember that?  Then he said, "Well, the baby is due November 25th."  My heart stopped.  What did he mean?  What baby?  Why would they have told him the due date when it wasn't our baby?  My mind wouldn't believe it!  I said, "What do you mean?"  He said, "She picked us, Stace.  The birthmom picked us.  The baby is due on November 25th."

I was driving and trying not to cry and laugh and scream all at the same time.  Clay didn't know much, but he knew that she had been shown books and connected with ours and picked us to parent her baby boy.  They had told us when we were making our profile not to be stressed about making everything perfect - we were told to just be ourselves because you never know what is going to connect with the birthmother.   We had done just that - and had included fun little details about ourselves throughout the book.  One of the biggest things she had connected with was that I love Reeses' peanut butter cups -- because she does too!  Oh how God has a sense of humor.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I cannot resist all things peanut butter and chocolate.  I will never look at Reeses' cups the same again! :)

I'm so thankful we included these silly details in our profile!  

I made it through dinner with my sweet friend.  She was super gracious and allowed me to eat and run because I was so ready to celebrate with Clay.  I made my way home, and then we talked about how we wanted to tell our families.  We had not told our parents or families that our book was being shown that day, so they knew nothing.  My mom has been asking me for weeks how I will tell her we were matched, if I would tell her, etc. so we decided to just drive to my parents house and show up unexpected.  We called Clay's parents on the way to my parents house.  They were so excited -- and they are getting their first grandson!

We got to my parent's house around 9:45 p.m. and they had no idea we were coming.  I took a video of my mom coming to the door, and I'm so glad that I did!  It is hilarious!  I'm trying to get it uploaded on here because the world needs to see this video.  It is truly priceless.

The next morning, we headed over to our agency to sign some paperwork and make things official.  When we got there, our neighbor had already stopped by and dropped off this sweet present for us.

Our first present for baby boy!  

It was such a surreal few days.  I'm still walking on air just thinking about all that is to come in the next few months.  We are truly so excited about becoming parents, but more than that I am learning more and more of God's intimate involvement in our lives.  He is so good to us.  He is so near to us.  He weaves greater stories in our lives than the greatest movie could ever tell.  And I cannot wait to tell our son of the beginnings of his story.

And --- on another note --- keep looking for details coming about a fundraiser that some sweet friends and family are planning for us!  We still need quite a bit of money to complete our adoption, and these sweet people are organizing a chili supper and silent auction for us on Thursday, October 17th.  More details to come!  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Big News!

We are so thrilled and excited to announce that .... IT'S A BOY!

We have been matched!  Our baby boy is due to make his appearance on November 25th -- just in time for Thanksgiving.  We knew we would have a lot to thank God for this year, but this will be even better than we could have imagined!  

We received "the" phone a little over a week ago, and it is still setting in every. single. day.  This precious boy is going to be ours in just 3 short months!  God's hand has been so evident in every single detail leading up to this point, and it was even more so seen in the details of how the last few weeks have played out.  Once again, I have been taught of the Lord's intimacy with us even down to the smallest detail.  He so lovingly reveals Himself in this way, and His nearness to us is seen so clearly in those moments.  

We are so incredibly humbled and thankful to the Lord for this blessing.  We are praying every single day for this little one to know Him, and are thankful that God has chosen us to be his parents.  

After our experience earlier in the summer, we have been praying for discernment in whether or not to share this news.  Beside the fact that we simply cannot contain our joy and excitement, we believe that God wants our community to be praying for this baby boy and for us as we walk this journey.  

How You Can Pray:  
  • Pray for baby boy.  Pray for this precious one as he continues to grow and develop.  Ask God for continued health and development as well as God's protection over him.  
  • Pray for the birthmother.  Pray for continued health as she enters the last trimester of her pregnancy.  Ask God to reveal Himself to her that she might see Him through this process.  We are asking that her life would be changed and she might sense God's unending love for her.  
  • Pray for us.  We are stepping out in faith once again, and learning even more what it means to surrender our plans to the Lord.  We hope and pray that this is our son, but we know that we must walk this path with open hands.  We will still have to go through a revocation period after the birth, and are praying that the results are much different than the last time! 
  • Pray for our finances.  God has faithfully blown our expectations away in this area.  When we started this process in January we literally had no idea where any of the money would come from.  By God's provision, we have 76% of our needed funds.  The rest of money is due three weeks before the due date, and once again we are stepping out in faith and believing that God will provide.  Please pray for God's provision and that we might trust Him completely.   
  • Pray for God's glory to be on display.  Throughout the next three months, and even the years to come, we want for God to be glorified in every detail.  
Thank you for being on this journey with us!  We are so excited and cannot wait to meet our son!  

Monday, July 15, 2013

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

I have struggled with whether or not to share this part of our journey so publicly.  However, I want to correctly portray the journey to adoption, and I want to give God the glory for how He is teaching us new things as we walk this road.

A few weeks ago Clay and I went on a choir tour with the youth choir from our church.  On the second day of the trip, we received a phone call letting us know that a baby boy had been born that morning and we were asked to pray about whether or not we wanted to adopt this baby.  We had only a few hours to pray through this, but it was clear as we prayed and talked and cried [and prayed and cried and talked] that we were to proceed in adopting this baby.  

We couldn't believe it.  THE phone call had happened.  It was exactly like how I had expected it to feel, but it was nothing like I could have ever imagined.  This was the only trip of our crazy student ministry summer that I was going on.  I had jokingly said to Clay just a few days before we left, "What would we do if we get 'the call' while we're gone on choir tour?" 

The call came while we were stopped for lunch at a mall somewhere on the road to Florida.  We had to switch vehicles around so that Clay and I could at least be in the same vehicle so that we could talk through our decision and wait for our agency to call us back to tell us what we needed to do next. (Keep in mind we were traveling with 145 other people so we were having to be discreet in all of this - yeah, my mascara running, tear streaked face was completely not a big deal at all!)  All this while driving further and further away from home - the mother's heart in me was slowly aching as each mile rolled on. 

A few hours later, while still driving down the road, Clay's phone rang again.  It had seemed like the last phone call we received was days ago, but it had only been a few hours.  There in a church van huddled over a cell phone, we listened together as we were told more about this precious baby boy.  So much information was given, and my heart was becoming completely overwhelmed.  This was our baby, our son, and we were about to become parents.  We told our case worker that we were sure that this was our son, and we were ready to proceed with this adoption.  She then calmly explained that there were some complications.  

My heart and mind were racing as she explained the situation more fully.  In our state, birthparents legally have a 10-day revocation period after the birth of the baby in which they can file to disrupt their adoption plans.  One of the blessings of adopting here in our home state is that here they are given the chance to waive 5 of the 10 days if they so choose.  This was not the case with this baby; the birthparents had signed the adoption papers but wanted the full 10 day period.  

Thus we entered the longest 10 days of my life.  Our agency's owner (one of the wisest and most discerning women I've ever known) sensed a red-flag in this situation and asked us to trust her as we walked through the next 10 days.  She said that while the birthparents had signed the papers, she was feeling in her spirit that we needed to proceed with caution.  She asked us to continue on with our trip, and if she felt we needed to be home, she would let us know.  The baby was still in the hospital but when he was released, she was going to place him in temporary care through the agency.  (We just so happened to know the family that would have our little guy - what a blessing!)

There was nothing we could do but to wait.  We couldn't see him yet;  we couldn't hold him.  And so we continued on.  The week was a blur to me.  I was an emotional basket case on the inside but tried so hard to act sane on the outside.  I maybe half-way succeeded in that endeavor.  Every. Single. Concert. was a cry-fest for me.  And that's ok because God was so near to me in those moments as I literally clung to Him and was forced to trust Him like I never have before.  I was literally blown away by my husband as he was able to lead well and to preach the Word with complete abandon all the while juggling his own emotions but also caring for and loving me as well.  It was a week we will never forget.

The day after we got the phone call, we received our first picture of baby boy.  I never expected to see our child for the first time in this way, but it was such a special intimate moment for Clay and I in the midst of chaos.  We were with our students at a trampoline arena.  It is literally a trampoline wall and floor.  There in the arena, with hundreds of jumping screaming teenagers all around us, we huddled together trying to be discreet as we peered at a phone and just stared at his picture.  We couldn't talk much but just looked at each other in awe as we saw this precious, little perfect boy.  A moment I will always remember. 

We got home from the trip on day 5 of our wait.  Things seemed to be going well, but our agency still wanted to proceed with caution.  We had told a few friends and our families and they literally became the body of Christ to us.  Their faithfulness to us physically and in prayer taught me more about how to love others than ever before in my life.  This baby boy was prayed for more than I could ever imagine.  I could not wait to tell him the stories of how loved he was even when we could not see him.

It was such an odd time - not knowing how to feel in those days.  On the one hand, we were ecstatic.  We were thrilled.  We could not wait to hold this boy and love him and to parent him.  On the other, we were trying so hard to be cautious, not knowing if it was wise to be excited.  So instead, we were forced to lay it at the feet of the One who held the entire situation.  I prayed, "Your will be done." more than I ever have before.

The last day of the revocation period was a Monday so we spent the weekend getting things ready to have a baby in our home.  We were trying to be cautious, but also wanted to be wise in the case that our world might completely change in a few days.  We cleared out the room for our nursery, some dear friends painted the room, a crib was bought and put together, family came and deep cleaned our house with us, and friends gathered together baby things so we were prepared for that day.  It was a weekend I will always cherish, as we spent hours laughing, crying and praying for this little one.

Monday came.  We had made it to the last day.  We had until 4:30 to wait to see if the birthparents would file for disruption of the adoption.  After that, he was coming to our home.  He was ours forever.

I woke up that morning singing "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand."  It was in my heart and my mind all day.  In fact, after I woke up singing the song, I texted the lyrics to all my prayer warriors.  I took a shower and then grabbed my cell phone to listen to Pandora while I got ready for the big day.  The first song that was played on my station was that very song.  Oh how intimate our Father is to us...intimate to the smallest detail.  I was peaceful.  I was ready for the day to be over.

Three hours before the revocation period was up, we received word that the birthparents had changed their mind.  The adoption was not going through.  He was not going to be our son.  Clay called me and told me the news while I was with some dear friends eating lunch.  They had been so sweet to try and distract me for those moments, and when I received the call they were silently able to know what to do.  Even in those moments, God was carrying me and sustaining me.

I went to the church to meet Clay in his office.  I hadn't cried at all from the restaurant to the church.  Once I saw him, I feel into his arms and wept.  Not tears of sadness for our loss, but for this precious baby.  I was so ready to mother him, even though I had never held him.  I was so ready to raise him up and teach him of Jesus so that he might one day know Him and serve Him.

A few days before that Monday, my sister-in-law and I were on the phone talking about the entire situation.  She asked me how I was doing with it all.  I answered her, "I'm fine.  I know I will be fine regardless of what happens on Monday.  The God I serve is the same today as He will be on Monday, and His plan is the same today as it will be on Monday."  I don't know where that assurance came from, but God was laying a foundation upon which I would have to stand.  This is the truth of our situation.  God's plan was not interrupted on that day.  I find such comfort in that fact.  He is truly sovereign, reigning over our lives and having set that plan in place long before we were in existence.

I share all this not for you to feel sorry for us.  Yes, we experienced heartache.  Yes, we were saddened deeply by this loss.  But I want you to read this and understand that God is still in control.  We absolutely believe that truth, no matter how much we longed for this baby to be in our family.  God's  presence and comfort to us since that day have been immeasurably rich.  His loving arms have surrounded us and His daily grace has sustained us.  I have learned that He is trustworthy all the time, no matter how bleak our situation seems.  I have learned that He is faithful even when we feel like giving up.  I have learned that His plan is secure and I am to walk by faith and not by sight.  And I have learned that He is a loving Father who is intimately involved in the lives of His children.

Be encouraged today that God is not surprised when life throws you a curve-ball.  He is still the same.  And that is a comfort to me.  His provision - the daily grace He provides for you to make it through each day - is sure.  It will not fail.  For our hope comes not from this world nor what it can give you, but from Christ's atoning work alone.  HE is our hope.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 Months

Today marks 6 months of being on this crazy adoption journey.  In some ways it feels like we just signed up yesterday, just told our families, and are still wide-eyed and confused with the entire process.  And there there are ways in which it feels like we have been on this journey for way more than 6 months.  The many decisions and endless paperwork seem to have been made forever ago -- and I feel like I've been a waiting parent for years.  ;)

Although we do not have a child in our arms yet, I already know I would do it all over again.  Adoption teaches you things you never knew you needed to learn.  I've learned lessons in every avenue of my life.  Here are a few of the things I've learned over the past 6 months:

  • God is sovereign.  This is something that I stated often before our journey to start a family and I knew it was true then.  This truth is no longer just a fact, but a comfort to walk in every single day.  God's plan for our family was set in place long ago - before Clay and I ever knew one another.  Nothing is surprising to Him and His plan is good. 
  • A huge element of faith is complete surrender.  No matter how hard I try, I am not in control.  I cannot hold tightly to anything, but must unclinch my fists and let God take it all.  
  • Adoption is not for the fainthearted.  Our dear friend Grant spoke these words to Clay and I very recently and we have spoken them over and over since then.  Endurance is taking on a whole new meaning to me these days.  
  • God is using adoption to strengthen my marriage.  Clay and I have had to be on the same page throughout this process, and by God's grace we have been with each step.  This has happened only because we are talking about, praying through, and seeking God together with each step.  
  • Stepping out in faith and being obedient to God is a wild ride.  He will take your expectations and completely blow you away.  I pray that I am always at a place where I hear His voice and walk in obedience to Him.  
  • God's provision is sure, and will always follow obedience.  We are humbled daily at God's provision for us during this time.  Not only financially, but also in His daily grace to us as we wait for our precious child.  
  • The adoption community is rich, and a true family.  Clay and I have been blown away by how many of you have reached out to us.  Whether you have adopted or not, you have been a huge encouragement to us by your hugs, emails, letters, donations, and your gifts.  This is something I did not expect when we entered this journey, but God has used adoption to teach me new things about the people of God.  
  • Adoption reinforces the message of the gospel.  I am understanding new aspects of the gospel because of this journey.  Adoption is a clear picture of what God has done for us in calling us His sons and daughters and loving us the same.  No questions asked, no hints of regret ... we are His.  Unconditional love and acceptance into a family are given -- this gospel love is the motivation behind why we are doing this.  I'm so ready to hold my son or  daughter in my arms and to get to teach him or her this lesson daily.  
  • Adoption is a blessing and joy, even in the waiting.  We have been so encouraged by God's daily grace to us as we wait.  There are moments that are hard and moments that are wonderful.  But God's grace is evident and His nearness is good!  

To our precious "Baby C", 

It may only have been 6 months that your daddy and I have been officially waiting for you, but we have been loving you and praying for you for much longer than that.   These months have taught me many things, but most of all they have taught me that I am so ready to love you and to be your mommy.  We are praying even now that you will grow up to love and know God, and to honor Him with your life.  We have been asking for God's protection over you as you grow and develop, and that His hand will be on you until you are in our arms.  We are so ready to meet you, and are ready for you to be a part of our family.  

We love you, 
Mommy and Daddy 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Home Study

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A few weeks ago while ago (yes, that's how long I've been working on this post!) we had our home study visits with our social worker.  I wasn't sure what to expect from a home study - in my mind I envisioned a very stern lady coming through our house and opening every door and examining every nook and cranny only to finally announce whether or not we made the cut.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Before our social worker came for our visits we each had to write and submit a self-study to our agency.  The self study consisted of several (around 30) questions that we each had to answer.  We could not discuss our answers with each other.  The questions consisted of just about anything anyone could ever want to know about Clay, myself, our background, our marriage, parenting views, adoption, etc.  Let's just say that those who read it will know everything about us - good or bad! ;)

Here's a few of the questions we had to answer:

  • Describe your personality.  Include what you view as your strengths and weaknesses.  Briefly explain the events and experiences in your life that you feel have shaped your personality.
  • Describe the family you grew up in.  Who was in the family, what were their relationships to each other?  What was your relationship with your parents like?  What were your feelings about other family members?  What were the positive and negative qualities of your family?
  • Describe your parents relationships to each other while growing up and currently.
  • How has your relationship changed since the ‘honeymoon’?  What do you admire about him/her now?  What are his/her strong and weak points?
  • What are your main areas of disagreement?
  • What are your relationships with each other’s families?  Do they live within visiting distance?  When do you get together?  What is your relationship like with your father-in-law?  Mother-in-law?  What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two families of origin, and how have these differences impacted your marriage?
  • Please explain your view of a birth parent and why and/or how a birth mother releasing a child for adoption?
After we submitted our self study, we were contacted about two months later by our agency's social worker. It just so happens that she goes to our church, but it was super fun to get to know her even better through this experience!

She was required to do 2 visits with us, one of which had to be in our home. We did the in-home part first. She had to work through several questions with us and so she did 1/2 of the interview plus the walk through of our home that day. She asked us questions about our families, our backgrounds, our personalities, what led us to adoption, etc. It was very much like the questions we answered in our self study. Then she did the walk through of our home, which was seriously just that. It was more like showing a friend your house than an investigator trying to find a reason why you are unfit to parent. (I was fretting for no reason!)

A week later we met her for lunch and completed the second half of the interview. We each had to have a few minutes at the table alone with her to ask some individual questions so I came late and Clay left early. The questions this day were more parenting and discipline oriented. After that, we were done! It was honestly a delightful process.

This was our official last step in the "paper trail" process of adoption. Technically, our profile could have been shown and we could have been matched before the home study was complete but now we are 100% ready to go and waiting.  

And oh how we are ready to meet this precious little one that God has picked out for our family. We are praying that we meet him or her very soon!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Garage Sale Fundraiser

[I'm sorry for the blogging hiatus recently - my only excuse is that life has happened. :)  We've had so much going on but I already have a list of things I'm ready to sit down and write about so hopefully this summer will lend me the time to do so!]

A few weeks ago we had a garage sale fundraiser at my parent's house.  My mom and our best friends, the James and Harrison's, all kicked in to make this sale happen. 

Natalie, Kim and my mom all cleaned out their houses and contributed to the sale.  We also had a few people from our community give some things, and some stuff was donated from a church wide garage sale our church had earlier this year.  

My mom, Natalie and Kim all helped out working it and organizing it because I had to be at work a lot of the time.  I am so thankful for these three women!  

I teased my mom and said it was the least successful garage sale of all time! Ha!  I only say that because in the 3 hours that I was able to work it not one person came!! We ended up making a good little profit. As we were saying all weekend ... every little bit helps!  

There were some fun finds in our little sale ... it was fun to see the things that each household was ridding themselves of.  

One of them was this amazing Avatar mask that our friend Nathan did not realize he was getting rid of (you can thank his dear wife Natalie for that!).  My dad thought he needed to model it and soon thereafter it sold!  (For  $5.00!) 

We were all shocked that the most valuable item in the garage sale did not sell!  Our dear sweet friend Kimmie did this self portrait in college and she has been hiding this little gem away for years.  We're thinking the garage sale audience did not realize what a masterpiece was in front of them and it might need to hit the auction scene in order to get it's true value in profit. ;)  
(Kimmie, just get ready because this little thing might start making it's appearance in all kinds of fun places!)  

Once again we have been incredibly humbled by the support we've been given in helping to fund our adoption.  Thank you mom and dad and to the James' and Harrison's for giving of your time and resources!  

We also contributed an entire room of furniture to the sale in order to clear out a room to make a nursery -- I'll hopefully be putting up a post about that soon!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Village People

We have been completely blown away by the support we've received from our t-shirt sales. I know I KEEP saying that over and over - but it's seriously crazy how this tiny little fundraiser has brought such a huge response!  I told Clay in the beginning that I would love to sell 100 shirts - and we've now sold almost 500!  The LORD continues to be our provision and teach us that HE is our provider!  

We are also very excited to announce that we are now at 60% of our needed funds to complete our adoption! 

I do not want to only focus on the financial aspect of our journey - I only say this to celebrate what the LORD is doing!  I do not ever want to forget how the Lord has used so many of you to teach me of His own character.  He is our provision.  He will always provide all that we need in His timing and in His ways.  

Four months ago we would have never been able to conceive of where any of this money would come from - but we knew we had to step out in faith and trust Him.  What a journey it's been!  Thank you all for your sacrificial giving and your obedience to the Lord.  I could not put into words how much the Lord has you to teach me about His heart and how He can use others to teach us about Him.  It is so humbling.  

Getting your "Village People" pictures does nothing but warm our hearts!  It has seriously been so fun to see all of you who bought one wearing them in support!  I CANNOT wait to show Baby C the pictures of you all and how loved he/she was before we even knew their name.  

If you haven't sent us a picture - please do!  We would love to include you in our book!  

Thank you all for your continued support!  May God get the glory from every little step in our journey!  

We are ready to meet our little one!  

Waiting Joyfully, 
Stacy and Clay 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Open-Handed Faith

Many of you have asked about an update - and to be quite honest there is not much of one other than the same thing we've been saying for a while now:  "We're just waiting for that phone call!"  [Please know that you are welcome to ask me this question ... I might just have the same answer for a while :)]

My dad has also told me that I can no longer call him unless I have news that his new grand baby is on the way! He said he is tired of almost having a heart attack each time he sees mine or Clay's names on the caller id. ;)

However -- we have completed 1/2 of our home study visits so expect a post about those details soon!  (There are some of you like myself who love knowing details so I'll try to make it detailed ... if any of you out there would want to know!)

While I knew that this waiting would have many different emotions and lessons attached to it, I could not expect the blessing that it has become.  It must be noted that blessing does not mean that it has been all fun and easy - no, that's not true.  There have been a few tears and some conversations with Clay hashing out my need for control.  The phrase "I just wish I knew..." followed by several different statements have been coming out of my heart and mouth in the last few weeks.

The blessing is that I (and Clay) have been able to walk by faith in ways that I never understood before this journey.  It seems that is one of the most precious ways that the Lord works - by teaching us through our obedience in the midst of uncertainty.  There have been no deep theological truths revealed, or emotional mountaintop experiences, or big revelatory moments so far.  Instead, I am learning to walk with every step as an act of open-handed obedience to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 have been so refreshing and challenging to me as we are waiting.  I can remember a day a little over 2 years ago as Clay and I sat on our couch discussing our plans to expand our family and this was the verse that he mentioned in that conversation.  At that time, these verses were nothing but the verses that Mrs. Margaret taught me in Sunday school years ago.   

But oh how God has deeply used these two verses to teach me about walking by faith.  Trusting the Lord is not always easy but it is always good.  Leaning on my own understanding will get me nowhere.  I may never understand why or how or when, but God does. In fact, I may never grasp why things happen if I leave it up to my own understanding.  He is in control.  He has a sovereign plan that does not need my understanding in order for it to be in place.  

For now I am learning to build my trust in my Sovereign Father.  I can do this by acknowledging Him in all my ways.  This is a lesson in putting one foot in front of the other and clinging to God's promises and His commands.   I want to always view this season of our lives in this way as we wait for our precious little one!   

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Village People

It has been so fun and humbling and awesome to see people wearing our adoption t shirts.  I have nicknamed you all the Village People - it may be corny but I think it's fun!  ;)

We've had such an overwhelming response to this fundraiser! Thank you for your generosity and support of us in this journey.  I have been completely blown away by the faithfulness of the Lord in every step of the way.  Why do we ever put limits on the Lord?  So far we have sold twice as many shirts as was my original goal! It's one of the many stories we have and will have about how the Lord is teaching us through this process.  

We are thrilled to announce that we are now at 38% of our needed funds!  Through our t-shirt sales, we added 10% of the money needed to bring our precious little one home.  It is incredibly humbling to see all that happens when you surrender to God's plan and walk entirely by faith.  You guys are all a huge part of that lesson!  

There are still people out there who have ordered shirts, and they are on their way to you!  We ran out of all the ones we did have but we are printing more!  AND if you would still like to order one - we are taking orders until next Friday, April 5th.  Just shoot us an email, Facebook message or text and let us know what size and whether you would like a crew neck or a v - neck!  

And don't forget to send us a picture if you have already gotten your shirt!  You can appear in a "Village People" post soon!  You will also be included in the book for our child to have one day!  
You can email your picture to us at: 
OR you can text it to either me or clay

Waiting Joyfully, 
Stacy and Clay 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Shirts Are In!

We have been completely humbled by the overwhelming response to our t-shirt fundraiser. Our child is certainly blessed by many people who already love him or her.  I cannot wait to start getting pictures of you all in them so we can start putting together our "Village People" book for our little one!  

Something that was really fun was that Clay and I actually got to be part of the screen-printing process for our shirts!  Some of you may or may not know that I work at a t-shirt and promotional product store in our town, and my boss amazingly agreed to help us out with our fundraiser.  Clay and I got to go and be a part of the whole thing and help print our shirts!

This is the screen that was used to print our shirts!  Clay stood over by the printer and loaded and removed our shirts as they went around and were printed.  He then placed them on a dryer for the ink to dry.  

I stood at the other end of the dryer and caught shirts as they came through.  It was so much fun to get to be a part of this process.  My bosses Petey and Sara and their daughter Dakota were all there helping us print.  I was so mad after we left because I realized I didn't get a picture with them!  We are so thankful for them and their help to us in this process!  

We then took the shirts to my parent's office and used their conference room as a sorting line.  My sweet mom came and helped to get all the shirts sorted and labeled.  

And this is what our living room has looked like the past few days!  The shirts are now done and are ready to go out to all of you!  If you are a part of our church, Clay has them in his office and you can run by there and get them.  If you are in our area, I will be contacting you to work out the details of getting them to you.  If you don't live close, you should be getting yours in the mail soon!  

And one more thing I don't want to ever forget:  these precious cards a sweet friend made for us to put in each bag.  We would love for each of you to keep this card as a reminder to pray for us and this entire process.  We have sincerely been so encouraged by each one of your sweet prayers over our growing family!  

If you still would like to order one, please let us know!  We have a few extras but are going to be doing another printing run as well! 

Words do not seem to be enough to express how thankful we are for each of you.  Please know that every day the Lord is using the people He has placed in our lives to teach us more about Himself and His working in every day lives.  

Waiting Joyfully, 
Stacy and Clay