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!