Humbled and Grateful

I’ll be honest. It feels really humbling and odd to be on the receiving end of such generosity but over the last couple months we’ve been amazed again and again at God’s love through people and we just can’t be silent about it! At this point our friends have helped us raise over half of our $30,000 goal! HALF!! Much of it came even in the last 5 days! We expected God to do great things but we had no idea that so many people would have a part in helping us bring Zeke home. Each gift has been meaningful to us. We are so thankful. So, SO thankful. Every time we’ve been handed an envelope or look at the fundraising site we shake our heads, shed tears and hold our newest son a little tighter. It’s not lost on us. We are extremely grateful for every little and big amount we’ve been given.

We are hoping to get a finalization date soon! I know our friends will take back over the blog for one last big push to get us closer to our goal but please know this: WE FEEL ABUNDANTLY LOVED. Thank you for the part you’ve taken to help us with the cost of this adoption.

Zeke is an absolute delight and if possible we love him more daily. He smiles easily and rarely gets put down. It has been SO MUCH FUN to watch he and Isaiah interact and our rough and tumble two-year-old shows us his sweet, gentle side. Of course our girls are in love and don’t pass a day without snuggling their new brother. What a gift!

God is so faithful. Even when we are faithless.

And He writes the best stories.


An Incredible Update

When we brought our son Isaiah home a little over two years ago we thought we were done adding children to our family. The adoption, like many, had been terribly difficult and we were thankful to have the five amazing kids we’d been given. Little did we know God had different plans. It’s kind of incredible the way He moves us to do things we don’t want to do and then gives us the heart to do it.

In the spring of 2016 some close friends invited us to an Adoption Agency fundraiser. I was fitful about attending because I had a sense God would use that time to reveal something important to us. I even started stating my case to God in my mind: “We don’t have enough seats in the van or chairs at the table”, “We’ve already done our hard thing”, “I don’t think I can go through another adoption process” We hadn’t even made it through the opening prayer that evening before we knew exactly what God was asking of us. Step back in. Say yes again. Even though it seemed impossible and crazy, we did. We weren’t without fear but we knew WHO was holding the future.

We were home study ready and signed back up with our amazing consultant, Susan, by September a year ago. We knew how crucial it was to have Susan’s insights, encouragements and connections in our first adoption and did NOT want to move forward without her. Plus, she had become a trusted friend and confidant.

The months that followed were very quiet. We gave our “yes” several times; we received “no” back every time. There were long periods of time we had no situations at all. We definitely didn’t feel confident the process would end with a baby but we prayed over each birth family and baby. At times we thought this might be why we were back in the process. But as time went on we were finally able to admit to ourselves and to God that we really wanted this little person. That revelation made us feel vulnerable but we kept stepping out, putting our “YES” in the mix.

Mid June we got a call late one night from Susan, “Your family has been chosen!” It was very surreal. The expectant mama was due later in July but at her 38-week appointment they decided to induce her. We flew out to her state and were there at the hospital when baby was born. We met her and her son just hours after he had arrived.

We connected immediately with mom. She referred to us as his parents, every medical question she deferred to us, when the time came to put a name on the birth certificate she put ours on it. She made it very clear that she wanted us at the hospital with her as much as possible and for sure through the nights. We cared for mom and baby with everything we had. It was an extremely exhausting and emotional few days. I don’t honestly know how we did it aside from GRACE. Our kids kept asking, “Does the mommy still want us to be his family?” It was a question we weren’t daring to ask ourselves.

When the time came for mom to be discharged, she signed a temporary custody agreement allowing us to take him from the hospital and she’d sign consent the next morning. We enjoyed every moment with him, wondering over his gorgeous face and sweet dimples. We were cautiously optimistic that the prayers we’d prayed were being answered the way we asked. And then one of our worst fears became a reality.

The baby was asleep on Zach’s chest late that night when my phone rang. Mom had chosen to parent and she, along with her agency counselor and the administrator were on their way to pick up the baby. When the agency arrived they asked if we’d be willing to see mom. She walked in the room sobbing and saying “I’m sorry”, I opened my arms and held her a long time. “We love you. We will always love you and pray for you both.” The pain was searing but there was beauty in it somehow. She couldn’t do it, and I can’t fault her for wanting to parent her son.

It was the gospel holding us together, plain and simple. He saved and sanctified us for that moment in time and only because of His love, we were ready.

We flew home the next morning, devastated. And when we landed in our home state we both had messages from the agency on our phones.

Another baby boy. Born the day after the first baby. And he needed a family. Were we willing?

It was unthinkable. Our hearts weren’t even over the loss that just occurred. It felt dizzying, stressful, and not even right. At first we said we thought this baby belonged to another family.

But then.

We. Said. Yes.

It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t feel right. It was stressful and awful and scary beyond belief. Adoption is risky. Adoption costs. Adoption is incredibly painful and hard. And it takes its toll in many ways.

A week later we flew back to the state we’d been with the first baby. Oddly enough it was the due date we’d been given with our first match. People close to us kept telling us how brave we were. I can tell you that I felt anything but brave! I felt like a coward but we kept moving forward, doing the next thing, signing the next paper, driving the next road. My heart was faint and I’m ashamed to admit that fear and anxiety crouched near me at every turn. If not for our friends and family we wouldn’t have been able to endure. The loved us in so many ways during that time! Even now I can’t begin to unwind how tightly their prayers and support bound us together.

Everything that followed has been a crazy series of events that we still have a hard time believing. We met another beautiful baby boy, cared for him in the Special Care Nursery (his nurses were amazing), and in less than two weeks a second baby was released from the hospital to us. It was terrifying to think he might actually be our son.

I remember a moment in time when I was reading my bible and I looked at this tiny baby still in the hospital and this thought came: You came for me, Lord. I was in desperate circumstances. No one was coming for me but YOU CAME. I was alone and had no hope but YOU CAME FOR ME. His word and His people carried us.

The adoption isn’t finalized but we are holding onto hope that this sweet, tiny creature is our boy!

He was welcomed with unhindered joy by his sisters and brother and they have been cuddling, kissing and cooing every chance they get. The way they walked through this with us taught us a lot about freely loving people.

We are humbled. We are amazed. We are incredibly grateful and in awe of the great gift God has given even through the pain.

Ezekiel Benjamin is the answer to so many prayers. It’s amazing grace that God would write the story the way He did, although it didn’t feel amazing at the time! “But God, who is rich in mercy…” He strengthened us, gave us truth in His word and surrounded us with people who’ve supported us in ways we will never forget. After all, it was His love that compelled us to adopt in the first place.

“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick”                 Ezekiel 34:16

Join us in thanking God for this sweet, INCREDIBLE gift!

the story

I haven’t posted in a long, long time. And I’ve realized this update will never be all that it should. But I sense a great responsibility to let you know the rest of the story. You can assume the silent months were full of lessons – what they are I have yet to comprehend completely. I likely never will. Life can be like that sometimes. I’ll sum it up with this: it got really dark after I posted about our second failed adoption. Grief, pain, sickness, “no” after “no” after “no” – the suffering seemed to have settled upon us. But somewhere along the way, there was hope. I know we aren’t the only ones with a hard story. I know others have hurt deeply and maybe some are even reading this blog in the midst of difficulty.  Hear this: GOD IS GOOD. He is faithful. He is worthy of our trust. And He loves us. I know that more deeply than ever. And if nothing else I have learned I can do nothing, no nothing without His help. With that in mind here’s the next installment of our story…

April 8th we got an email saying that a baby was being born in Florida in an hour and would we like to present our family? I immediately said yes, called Zach to say, “we said yes”, and went about sending the necessary paperwork and our profile electronically. As I was talking to this agency over the phone (it was one we had NOT applied to, but we heard of the situation from our consultant, Susan) the social worker said she was having a hard time printing our profile. And then she said she thought the birth mother was looking for a family with no kids or maybe one kid. “Oh, we’re out,” I said. “I don’t want to overwhelm her and I want to respect her wishes, you could just take our profile out.”

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep you in,” the social worker said. “You never know.” They were going to present profiles that night and let us know how it went the next day. The trouble with printing our profile persisted and I asked where in Florida their agency was located. They happened to be in the same county as another agency who DID have a profile of ours. I have no idea how God orchestrated getting those books in the right hands, I just know He did.

The whole next day I kept thinking of the story of Moses and the Israelites in front of the Red Sea and prayed, as many times before, that God would fight for us while we kept silent. And you know what? He DID. And this time it meant that SHE CHOSE US. I was in the middle of the Gap outlet wondering around not really looking at anything when my phone rang. It was our amazing consultant, Susan, calling to say “she chose your family”. Unbelief, utter amazement, and thanksgiving. I crumpled to the floor and began to weep. That’s where my sister found me, alarmed and a bit worried until I choked out, “It’s a yes! She said yes!”

This picture was taken after the birth momma signed. It was the first time we saw his face. A sweet baby boy in Florida, his brave mother and plans too complex for us to understand.


The baby was in the NICU due to a meconium aspiration but it wasn’t until we arrived in Florida that we realized how sick he was. We assumed he’d be in the hospital for 7 days and then we’d wait out ICPC (paperwork to cross state lines) and then we’d finally get to bring our son home. I’m glad we didn’t know what was in store. It was six weeks, 2 different NICU’s, 3 trips to and from Florida, dozens of nurses and doctors, I lost count of the chest x-rays, SO many hours of praying, fretting, praying and more fretting. It was ridiculously hard. And all the while fear was crouching near and whispering threats. “This isn’t really your baby. I know the risks are small but you’ve seen what happens with small risks. At the last second God is going to take him away from you as He’s done the previous two, just wait.” I hate to admit how fragile I was…er…am. But it was there ALL the time.  If not for family and friends praying for us I’m convinced we wouldn’t have been able to hold on. Again, I know our NICU stay wasn’t so bad in comparison. 6 weeks by some standards isn’t really that long. But that just tells you how weak we were.

Seeing him for the first time was unbelievable. Even now that he has been in my home for a total of 71 hours  – I am in awe. Shocked, almost. I think we’re deliriously happy. Well, we’re delirious for sure. Exhausted and thankful. I couldn’t possibly put into words what we’re feeling. But every now and then Zach and I will catch each others eyes and just stare at each other. It happened. It really happened. A son. A son. We have a son! He is still healing from the insult the meconium took on his body and I am daily trying not to stress about his heavy breathing and occasional wheeze. But he is here. When I read the word “adopted” from the bible my heart won’t hurt because our baby isn’t with us, it will hurt because his is! Because of his birth mothers selfless decision we gained a new child to our family. I will never get over that. The rest of my days I will contemplate the breadth of that incredible decision. It wasn’t easy for her. When we met her she cried tears of joy and worried that he might not understand her choice. We hugged her hard. “He will know you love him,” we assured her, “because we’re going to tell him.”

God met us in so many ways during this last part of our journey – just as He had in the other parts. Buddy passes, all of them but two, from the same generous person who was rooting for us the whole time. A hotel across the street from the first hospital that gave us an amazing rate and when I came back by myself gave me a night for free, because the manager was adopted. Our first nurse didn’t waste any time before she said, “I just love adoption, it’s such a picture of God’s love for us.” I can’t make this stuff up. Of the nurses we had one was adopted, two had adopted children, and another had a family member going through the process. After the transfer to a different NICU there was a Ronald McDonald house where I stayed for free. Every bit God gave I hungrily took and begged for more. I pouted and threw fits, I clung to truths like Psalm 40 and Isaiah 25. I shared every fear with God and wondered even up till minutes before he was released to go home with us if they’d let him leave. But he did! And the redemption that we prayed for? It came in so many ways. We slept in a hospital bed in the room next to our beautiful birth mother for our first baby who was stillborn last June. We slept in one with this baby, too, but life was next door. As a matter of fact, this baby was being knit together as we grieved the first son we lost. Familiar places we visited and stayed for our bleak trip to Florida last October had much different meanings this time. We finally got to use the car seat, the clothes, the diapers that we’d been collecting. The name we’d been saving for years? It means “God Redeems”. That, my friends, is God’s amazing grace.

Ladies and Gentlmen, meet Isaiah Wade


He’s even more beautiful in person, I assure you.


Many of you feel the weight of this because you walked so closely with us. Believe me, we feel the pull with you. You share in the joy of his homecoming because you fought in prayer, some of you in tears for us. We will never get over that. We are so excited to celebrate his arrival with you over the coming months, but even more, the God who provided it.

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for you have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”

Isaiah 25:1

More to come, but for now you can just bask in how gracious God is.