Letting Go of Control – Paul and Melissa’s Adoption Story

From an early age, adoption was on Melissa’s heart. She can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from, but her heart always seemed to beat a little faster whenever she heard about a new family being created through adoption. She remembers telling Paul about this desire to adopt early in their relationship, and over time they agreed it was something they’d like to pursue after having biological children.

Benjamin

After they had been married for seven years, a fertility specialist told them that they would not be able to have biological children without significant medical intervention. They describe the weeks after that diagnosis as being filled with a lot of prayers, tears, and grace with each other. They knew they wanted to parent and raise children together, and that it did not matter to them whether a child shared their DNA, so they began to research different adoption paths.

In September 2017, Paul and Melissa met with Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting to better understand the domestic adoption process. Their home study and profile book were completed by April, and they settled in for what they expected to be a long wait. Just a few days after submitting their materials, they heard from their case manager that a young expectant mother was making an adoption plan for her baby boy due in August, and that they had been chosen! They were overjoyed and began making many plans and dreams for him. But those dreams came to an abrupt halt when they heard a month later that a family member of the birth mother would be getting custody of the baby and the adoption was now closed to them. They were left with a feeling of loss and heartache, having to constantly remind themselves that the call and desire to be part of the redemptive story of adoption was not something they made up on a whim. They trusted that somewhere there was a child who needed them as parents, and that there was a brave mother who they could welcome into their story with open arms.

As August drew closer, Paul and Melissa thought about the baby often and hoped he was safe and healthy. At the end of July, their case manager informed them that the birth mother had reached out saying that she wanted to move forward with the adoption plan if they were still willing, and that the baby was due any day now! Paul and Melissa scrambled to get ready to fly to Florida, and six days later, their son was born.

38712066_2047099348636551_2931835742441177088_o

Paul and Melissa said that the uncertainty was the hardest part of the adoption process. They reflect: “One of the first things we learned about adoption is that it is essentially a crash-course in letting go of control and trusting in God. We see now how every twist and turn in our story ultimately led us to our sweet son, and it’s amazing to look back on how God orchestrated every detail that we were anxious about. That doesn’t mean that our journey was perfect – it certainly had some very challenging points! But God consistently reminded us of His presence and purpose in every dark moment, and we know without a doubt that this baby was always meant to be part of our family.”

They are extremely grateful for their church and their loving community of family and friends who went out of their way to cover them with love and support during the highs and lows of the process. In the months leading up to their adoption, they found people “coming out of the woodwork” to share stories about how adoption touched their family personally, which gave them hope for the future. Walking through infertility and adoption can feel very isolating, so they were grateful for every reminder that they were not alone on their journey.

One message Paul and Melissa would share to those considering adoption is: “Don’t give up! Adoption can seem so intimidating at first. But we firmly believe that God equips us for everything He calls us to do, and provides exactly what we need for each part of the journey.”

IMG_0139

Advertisements

He Knew the Story – Shane and Emily’s Adoption Story

Shane and Emily recently welcomed a sweet little girl into their family. Baby Girl joins Big Brother in a family that honors God in every part of their journey. Here is their story, in their own words…

Emilyimage3

When we look back over our fertility and adoption journey, it is evident that He knew how the story would unfold. He knew exactly how to direct our thoughts and decisions in order to orchestrate His great plan. He knew where our hearts were at each given moment: through the stresses, through the excitement, through the waiting, and He continued to meet us where we were and to blow away our expectations.

God knew that we wouldn’t be able to fully fund the adoption alone. He provided various unexpected financial provisions in the form of generous donations and grants. At one point while we were waiting for a match and trying to raise funds, we received an unexpected cash gift from a relative (unrelated to our adoption) and decided to give it towards our church building project. Within a week, we received an unsolicited grant in our fundraising account for the exact amount of the gift that we had given to our church. We did not tell anyone about receiving the cash gift or about passing it on to our church. But, God knew. He was also in tune with where our hearts were in regards to “preferences” in a birth mother. From the beginning, we were hesitant about matching with a birth mother with known drug use or mental health conditions. After not being offered many situations, we decided to broaden our preferences with two agencies and removed those exclusions. The same week we did that, God opened the door to a situation which met our original preferences: a healthy mom and baby with no known drug use or mental health issues. When we took a leap of faith and gave God control, He met our hearts’ desires.

God directed and urged our steps while reading adoption blogs which eventually connected us to an agency on Facebook. This agency was who we would eventually match with after seeing a situation come across on their news feed. Who would have thought that social media would help us find our daughter…but God knew.

When making our profile book, Cindy, co-director of Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting, had suggested that we include things unique to us. We have 8 chickens and Shane loves to garden. When we received the phone call that we “matched,” two things voiced by expectant mother that she loved about us were our little “farm” with chickens and a garden. God worked through Cindy in suggesting those changes to our profile book.

God knew that one of our biggest stressors once matched was where our family would stay while transitioning with a newborn and waiting for clearance to come home. There were so many options that we felt overwhelmed. We researched for a few weeks and tried to decide where to stay. One Sunday morning at church, Emily decided to write a down a prayer request for housing provision and hand it in for the church staff to pray for. The following week, God orchestrated communication with a family member in Virginia who connected us with the blessing of a private home while in Florida. This not only saved us a great deal of travel expenses, but enabled us to be in a relaxing atmosphere while we adjusted.

Emily is a labor and delivery nurse and she felt strongly about wanting to support the birth mother in whatever way possible during her delivery and hospital stay. We were told that the birth mother didn’t want anyone to be with her during the C-section or recovery period and she requested to keep baby girl with her in her room. While in the hospital waiting for news of the birth of our baby girl, Emily received a phone call from our case worker that the birth mother was asking for Emily to come be with her in the pre-operating area. Emily was able to provide support for the birth mother before her C-section and was able to wait in the recovery area while the birth mother was in her C-section. She was the first to meet and hold our daughter when the nurses brought her out of the operating room. And she got to support the birth mother post-operation. Through this bonding and trust formation, the birth mother then offered for us to spend as much time as we wanted with her and the baby in the hospital. God knew the importance of this time in forming and building a relationship with our daughter’s birth mother. We now touch base with her regularly after she asked if we would be willing to have an open relationship despite her original request of a semi-open adoption. The “open-ness” was on our hearts from the beginning of the adoption journey. Again, God knew.

Emilyimage2

God knew that we would be worried about traveling home. Returning a rental car, navigating a large airport and lugging baggage, all with two small children, was causing a great deal of anxiety for us while we were waiting. God knew. He processed the paperwork in 8 days, which ended up being a record for our agency! Despite Emily’s mom having booked a flight at the beginning of the week to travel home Sunday, He orchestrated the details so that we got the phone call of clearance to travel Friday afternoon. This allowed us to book the same flight as Emily’s mom. He knew the need of an extra pair of hands to make traveling easier. He knew the ease it would bring flying into a smaller airport closer to home. And He fulfilled both of these through the inaugural flight of a Frontier plane from Orlando to Harrisburg. Praise God!

Despite the low moments of having to wait almost a year from beginning our adoption journey to bringing our daughter home, it was worth every moment to look back and see the Good Lord’s hand in it all. The words of encouragement that we’d like to give to anyone seeking to adopt or who may be in the adoption process already is to open your heart and allow yourself to release control over to God. It was in those moments of surrender that we most felt God’s sovereignty and peace. When we allowed Him to be in complete control, He was able to mold our hearts, direct our steps, and prepare us for the situation that best met our desires.

Our daughter and her story have solidified our Trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He knew the wants of our hearts, the needs of our souls and He continues to time and time again meet us right where we are in the mess of it all. Our challenge for each of you who may be curious about the nudges or “gut feelings” you may have throughout the day is to consider it more than that. Consider that there is a higher being who orchestrates out all the details of your life. Consider that He has all the days of your life planned out, and that He has a purpose for the sorrow and despair that may come during your life on earth. Consider these nudges to be a gift from Someone higher, revealing His plan and His character.

Emilyimage1

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” John 16: 12-14.

 

A Non-stop Adventure – Tyson and Melissa’s Adoption Story

23172790_1989679851312526_1385552154970270572_n

Melissa knew at an early age that she was unable to conceive a child naturally. This news was shocking, and she always hoped the doctors were wrong, but she also came to realize that there would be other options to becoming a mother.

When Tyson and Melissa met, they agreed that they would be open and honest about everything. It was even on their first date that Melissa talked about her past, including the issue of infertility. Tyson never missed a beat, assuring her that this was not a big deal to him. He knew that you didn’t have to give birth to a child to be a mom or dad. On the contrary, being a parent is someone who loves, nurtures, and raises a child to grow with these same values.

Tyson and Melissa first met with us in June of 2017. It didn’t take them long to complete their homestudy and by Labor Day they were sending out applications and profile books. They were matched just shy of one month later! And in less than 30 days after being matched, their beautiful little girl was born.

23316428_1989679861312525_993374449539030466_n

For Tyson and Melissa, the wait was the most difficult part of their adoption journey. The wondering, hoping, and praying are tough. And even after they were matched, it was difficult to wait for updates and communication from caseworkers. On the other hand, they have been blessed beyond measure by their daughter’s birth family. Through their adoption adventure they became close to their daughter’s birth mother and half sister. This was a part of the journey they hadn’t imagined or expected.

This family knows that God has been with them through the entire adventure and will be there for whatever comes next. One particular story stands out: After a particularly rough night at the hospital, Tyson and Melissa were getting ready to freshen up because they just needed a few minutes alone. Then the phone rang and it was John, co-director of Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting. The best part? John had misdialed and had really meant to call someone else but God knew that they needed someone to talk to and John was there.

Tyson and Melissa encourage all couples in the adoption adventure to speak up! Don’t be afraid to talk! Talk to your consultants, your agency, to family and friends. Remember that you are not alone and that this is a non-stop adventure that will never end. It’s a beautiful story written just for you!

Bixler2

 

 

 

Together for a Reason – Brett and Lyndsey’s Adoption Story

Six years ago, God brought Brett and Lyndsey together for a reason, in a way that only He could orchestrate.

BrettLyndsey

And last month, God added a son to their family. Clearly, God brought them together for a reason.

Jaxton1

Lyndsey was diagnosed with Leukemia six years ago and underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. She and Brett first met during this time but her diagnosis did not deter him from pursuing a relationship. They both knew that the treatments would effect their ability to have a child but knew without a doubt that God brought them together for a reason.

They tried the difficult path of fertility treatments but after several failed attempts, they asked God to show them His plan for their family. In March of 2017, Lyndsey met a friend of a friend of a VHAC family and they talked about this family’s adoption journey. Lyndsey felt God’s presence throughout the conversation and thought that this might be where God was leading them.

A month later we found ourselves sitting across from Brett and Lyndsey, hearing their journey to this point and their interest in adoption. It didn’t take them long to join our VHAC family and to begin their home study and profile preparation. They were amazed at how things quickly began to fall into place. Just one month after their home study was complete, they were matched with an expectant mom who was due two weeks later. She went into labor a week early, however, so with expectation they boarded a plane.

Once they arrived, they found that their son was going through withdrawal due to pain medications his birth mother had taken. It was extremely difficult to see him in pain and to be limited in the amount of time they could hold him. But they also saw God’s hand in his quick recovery and his continued health.

Interacting with a birth family can be challenging but Brett and Lyndsey found ways to spend time with their son’s birth family while they waited for his discharge from the hospital. They saw how difficult it was for this family to give them such a precious gift. They tried to show as much love and compassion as they could even when it was difficult or uncomfortable for Brett and Lyndsey. An evening out together for dinner was meaningful for all of them.

 

Jaxton2

They now find themselves talking to people about their family and the question inevitably comes, “How long was the adoption process?” People are always amazed when they say it took them only a month after their home study was complete!

Jaxton3

God has definitely united this family for a reason. May He receive all the praise and glory!

 

 

 

 

He Never Left – Jason and Melissa’s Adoption Story

JasonMelissa

Jason and Melissa have been on a 12 year journey to become a family of three. In this time, they have experienced what they call “the agony and the ecstasy” but through it all, Jason and Melissa can say with confidence that they have seen God in every moment and He never left them.

They began their journey trying to achieve a pregnancy and Melissa enrolled in a research study at a medical center. Melissa remembers the agony of every negative pregnancy test while Jason remembers how difficult it was to watch Melissa give herself daily injections and to see the resulting bruises on her body. When the doctors turned the conversation to IVF, Jason and Melissa thought long and hard, and together decided not to proceed with that process. They decided to take a break.

Later they pursued the option of foster care. They navigated through that for about a year and were blessed with a respite assignment of a brother and sister. They still think of those children and thank God for the opportunity to share their lives with them, if even for a few visits over several months. It was difficult to hear that the children would be going back home, even though it was not the best place for them. Through that process, they decided that foster care was not the avenue they were to take to grow their family. Again, they took a break.

Through the years, friends would connect Jason and Melissa with women in a crisis pregnancy. They have lost count the number of times they were considered, looked over, or experienced a failed adoption when a birth mother would later decide to parent.  The most difficult experience came when they were in contact with an expectant mother who said that she wanted them to parent her baby. Weeks later, Melissa was unable to contact her. Through another source, Melissa found out that the baby had been born early and the birth mother decided to parent. Feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness would start to surface and at times they considered giving up.

It was at this point that Jason and Melissa found themselves in three different conversations, with three unrelated people, who all suggested that they contact Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting. They knew they needed a more solid path, and someone with experience to help them navigate the adoption journey. Believing this was their last, good try, they contacted us.

Jason and Melissa initially met with us December of 2015, and were first matched with an expectant mother four months later. But there were still some more lows to pass through in their quest for a child. That pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and then a second match also miscarried. Matched a third time, the expectant mother decided to parent. These were times when they had to heavily rely on their faith, and the support of their faith community, because they really began to doubt the Lord’s plan for their family. Thankfully, they did not give in to the temptation to quit because their little blessing was on the way.

In December of 2016 they were matched with an expectant mother whose baby was due in July. Melissa made the trip to visit with her and her mother. It was a blessing all around. Despite fears and discomfort, the three quickly connected and Melissa’s heart was drawn to this brave young woman. Not wanting to miss the delivery, Jason and Melissa decided to arrive a week before the due date. But their son was in no hurry to be born and his due date came and went. While they waited, they again connected with their son’s first mother, going to doctor appointments with her, having meals with her, and sight-seeing together. What beautiful memories were made during this time!

But fear again surfaced. Extra time out of state meant higher expenses for them. They told the owners of their apartment that they were going to need to extend their stay. The owners replied by telling them to stay as long as necessary; they have a nephew who was adopted and they want to help any way they can. For every difficult moment, Jason and Melissa stood on the promise that there was a moment of joy waiting to be revealed.

19905095_10213685278464674_2814666277408597743_n

And finally, they are a family of three and they can say with confidence that God has never left them even when they could not see what He was doing or how He was leading. They have experienced God’s grace through the love shown throughout their journey. God blessed them with amazing family, friends, and a church community who have supported them, wiped their tears, been strong when Jason and Melissa couldn’t be, and who simply never let them give up hope. Finding Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting at just the right time was a blessing to them and it brought them through the final leg of this journey. They know that the timing of the referrals to VHAC could not possibly be coincidence; it was just simply God. They especially felt His presence when they met with their son’s birth mother. They know the whole process was God-ordained and the time spent with her was blessed. They were able to share their faith with her and her mother. Jason and Melissa see God’s grace in the face of their son and the journey that led them to this precious gift.
20314566_10154628647061363_1153852677_o
Jason and Melissa sum their story up with this mantra: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
20273104_10154628682406363_2095646628_o
Amen.

A Ray of Light – D.J. and Emily’s Adoption Story

This little ray of light is home now but like many adoption journeys, this one was full of fears and loss of control and in the end, reminders that God is always perfectly in control and nothing catches Him off-guard. He loves to see His children learn to trust His perfect plan and to bless them in the process. They learned in very real and tangible ways that this is God’s story and they need only to trust and follow His leading.

Lucy Rae1.jpg

Adoption was always something D.J. and Emily had talked about, even when they were dating. At that time, however, they assumed they’d pursue adoption after starting a family with biological children. God had a different plan, however, and it was nothing like they expected. After several years of infertility and very real grief, they began to realize that maybe adoption had always been God’s Plan A for their family. Their prayer then, and now, was that God would give them clear direction and peace about their decisions.

We first met with D.J. and Emily around Christmas, 2016. They had just experienced yet another failed IVF treatment but were ready to learn more about the adoption process. Using that Christmas season as a time to discuss adoption with some family and friends and to prayerfully consider the timing, they signed on with Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting in mid-January and started their home study soon after.

By April 7 their home study and profile booklet were complete. That same day, they learned about a potential match and three days later found out that they had been chosen by this expectant mother and their baby girl was due in just over a month. Throughout that month, they learned that even though their adoption was going to have some openness attached to it, the expectant parents did not want to interact with D.J. and Emily in the hospital, and that they preferred that D.J. and Emily just show up at the hospital at the time of discharge. D.J. and Emily used this time to pray for the expectant parents and for doors to open with opportunity to meet them and to begin to build a relationship.

The day came when they received the news for which they had been waiting. Their baby girl had been born and they made arrangements to fly out to meet her. After a long flight and a hurried layover with no time to check in with their caseworker, they arrived only to find that things were not going as planned. The birth mother had been discharged from the hospital and they had taken their baby girl home with them. D.J. and Emily feared that they would be going home with empty arms and found themselves sick to their stomachs. They called us and we talked and prayed together and in the end, placed everything in God’s hands. Things quickly changed again and they found themselves invited into the birth parent’s home, spent several afternoons visiting with them, getting to know them, and interacting with their baby and her sisters. Both sets of parents were able to take her to her first doctor’s appointment.

Lucy Sneak Peak 2.jpg

*Photo credit Nicola Herring Photography

Baby Girl’s name means light and her story has many aspects which confirm God’s light shining in and through her, bringing Him all the glory. When D.J. and Emily found out the city and state where their baby was to be born, their pastor offered to connect with a sister church in the area. D.J. and Emily have been blown away by the generosity of the families there. They received housing, meals, financial assistance, a car, and fervent prayer support from their new friends. Despite the ups and downs, D.J. and Emily have found peace ruling in their hearts and lives. And even most amazing is the timing of their daughter’s birth: Just over 9 months after finding out that their first IVF transfer did not work, they are now holding their precious daughter in their arms. And Memorial Day has taken on new meaning, and will always be a special day for D.J. and Emily, as relinquishment paperwork was signed on this day. They believe with all of their hearts that this little girl was God’s plan from the beginning of time. She was chosen to be their daughter just as they were chosen to be her parents.

Lucy Family 3.jpg

D.J. and Emily summed up their story of light and redemption with these words, “It’s not OUR story – it is God’s story He wrote for us… We are grateful for the journey God has led us on and feel like He has answered our prayers for direction and peace.”

 

This Was His Plan – Jon and Amanda’s Adoption Story

A little blessing, just in time for Christmas, in Jon and Amanda’s own words …

57809

Our adoption story started before we even knew it was going to happen, but God knew all along. This was his plan.

In 2013 Amanda turned 30, at which age she had always determined, she would start her family. 30 came and went but she and Jon weren’t discouraged, they continued to try to get pregnant. In January 2014 Amanda miscarried at only about 4 weeks.   Once again, she and Jon weren’t discouraged, and were assured that the miscarriage was typical. October rolled around and they still weren’t pregnant. Amanda had seen an ad for a free info session for a fertility clinic and she and Jon decided it might be a good idea to check it out. After some tests and some fertility treatments, still nothing. The next round of more aggressive treatments was getting ready to start, but in January 2015 Amanda went to the hospital with what she thought was pneumonia. It was actually a virus that had attacked her heart. Her heart had been weakened by the virus and was functioning little to none. Jon and her family never gave up hope and stayed by her side in the hospital the whole time. At one point the doctors gave Jon paperwork to place her on the heart transplant list. It’s a God thing — that she is alive and has fully recovered, after spending almost a month in the hospital, and 18 days in a medical coma. Becoming pregnant at this time, with the compromised condition of her heart and having to be on several medications, was discouraged by all doctors.

Amanda and Jon felt sorry for themselves for a little while, but were always trying to figure out the next steps to grow their family, as they had so much love to give a child. After researching some other options, they talked with some friends and asked them to keep their ears open for some adoption options through churches and other Christian organizations. This led them to the recommendation to talk to John & Cindy King, of Victorious Hope Adoption Consultants, in April 2016.

Jon and Amanda wanted to complete each step of the paperwork process as quickly as possible, and were soon home study approved in June. They applied to 2 agencies in FL at the end of August. The waiting was the worst part. They kept the adoption process a secret from friends and family, even from their parents and siblings, as they didn’t want the added pressure of everyone asking them for updates and questions. They went through emotional peaks and valleys during this waiting period. Seeing all of their friends with their cute kids and their fun family activities made their heartache even worse. In November 2016 they had decided maybe they would apply to a 3rd agency in FL to increase the odds of being matched. This 3rd option required a sizable upfront fee that they really didn’t want to spend, but they were willing to take the risk for the hope of a match.

Turns out, Sunday Nov. 27th , 2016, the day before they were going to send in the 3rd application and sizable fee, they found out they were matched. The baby boy was due January 10th 2017.

Elated, a whole new set of emotions set in for Jon & Amanda. They couldn’t believe they were going to have a baby in less than 2 months. They were scared and excited at the same time. They decided to not buy anything for the baby, since they knew that anything can happen when you adopt. They were nervous to meet the birth parents, which was arranged for December 17th 2016. Their flights were booked and they were getting anxious.

December 14th , 2016, their case worker texted them that they might need to change their flights, as the birth mom was having contractions. This brought a whole new level of nervousness to Jon & Amanda as now they had NO time to prepare mentally or prepare the physical things they needed for a baby. Once again a God thing happened. A few phone calls later their friends and neighbors had provided everything they needed for traveling with a baby and the essentials they needed for the first few weeks after they got home. Their special blessing was born 12/14/16 @ 10:32pm.

jonamandaevan

Jon and Amanda were able to meet the birth parents the following day and thank them for this wonderful gift they gave to them. The birth parents thanked Jon & Amanda for being able to give their birth child a better life. It was a short but sweet meeting. They finally got to meet their son around 1pm on 12/15/16. He was, and is, absolutely perfect! You can see the hand of God when you look at a newborn and Jon and Amanda’s lives were instantly changed forever.

jonamandabeach