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.


It’s Time To Fundraise!

I’m, of course, thrilled beyond measure that my friends have adopted again!  It’s amazing to watch their family grow and watch them love their babies.

And, as part of the family of Christ, I’d love to help them raise money for this adoption.  They didn’t go into either of their adoptions assuming anyone would help them financially in any way.  They regularly tell me how “undeserving” they are.  And isn’t that true!?!  None of us are deserving of God’s grace in our lives, and yet here we are!

There are a couple of ways to give:

  1. Make a donation by clicking here.
  2. Sign up for a fall mini photo session by clicking here.  All proceeds will benefit the Ashley’s!

It’s one of my greatest joys in life to watch the family of God come together to help with an adoption.  My husband and I love contributing to adoptions, babysitting kids so people can go adopt more, and facilitating adoption fundraisers.  We’re looking forward to seeing more of God’s big story for Zach and Danielle and baby Ezekiel Benjamin!

Read Danielle’s post below to learn more of Zeke’s story!

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.

the plot thickens…

Failed adoption is what they call it when you’ve been matched but don’t get to bring the baby home for one reason or another. I’ve heard many couples describe it as a death of sorts. I can say from experience that’s true in many ways.

We’ve been somewhat mum about having been matched again. When our full-term baby went home to heaven in June we didn’t want to be matched again, love another birth mom, be vulnerable. But then we felt God was working on our hearts. There was a woman due on our anniversary who chose us. We found out in early August, which happened to be our youngest child’s birthday. The agency shared our story with her and she chose us. We, very timidly, moved forward. I flew to her state and met her. Something I thought I’d never do again. I fought fear daily. I wrote her letters and cards, sent packages. We even admitted to God that we wanted this child in the night hours when we thought no one else was listening. We knew that just because a hard thing had happened once didn’t guarantee protection from a second hard thing. Our small group was praying, we were praying, people I hardly knew were praying. For two months we tried to guard our hearts but still dared to love this baby. We tried to stay in a place where we didn’t picture him coming home with us.

It doesn’t matter how hard you try. When, at the last minute, it’s all ripped away from you again, you hurt. Deeply.

We got an induction date on a Monday, flew to the state on Tuesday. In order to do that several things had to be in place for us to leave home. We left our four sweet babies here. That is never something we’d do lightly. There were countless hours I’d spent dreading that part of our journey. We told them that Momma and Daddy were going to check on a baby to make sure he was ours. If he was, we’d have to stay long but we’d bring home a baby brother. If he wasn’t, we’d be home soon. The grocery trips, the stocking up, the pages of information, insurance cards, gifts to give – we tried to prepare well.

Anyway – we flew Tuesday and we were supposed to meet up with the birth mom Tuesday afternoon. She didn’t show. Said she was in a meeting. So the agency encouraged us to go shopping. We went to the beach. We were supposed to meet again at 6pm. She didn’t show. This is where it started getting real ugly. They couldn’t get her on the phone, she wouldn’t answer texts. Then they started calling the hospital to see if she’d already had the baby. I had a picture of hope held on by a string flinging in the wind. I was already a basket case. This felt really gross.

It wasn’t until Wednesday morning, when she didn’t show up for the supposed induction that the agency really started investigating. We found out about 10am that she’d had the baby several days ago. For reasons unknown to us or the agency, she would not be placing her baby with us. It was over.

We flew home someone’s buddy passes – I felt so guilty for having used them. I felt all of it had been wasted. Time, money, distance from our kids. I’ll be honest. I felt that even our love and the prayers of so many had been wasted. I went straight to the source. I questioned God about all of this, a deep sense of dread making me feel like He was an unkind Father. Why God?! Why now? Why did you make us wait and form a relationship and spend money and fly here only to leave the next day with no baby? Why, in this helpless situation, did this seem like the right thing? How are we supposed to go home and be brave for our kids? The pain was real – a searing, tearing ache in my chest. Zach and I were beside ourselves. He was angry. I was sad. It made the loss of our first son back in June so keen, so clear.

I realize how small it sounds to say I was at odds with God. My faith, shaken to the core. My trust, shattered. I’m ashamed to admit it – I know so many others who’ve suffered more. We have a ridiculous amount of things to be thankful for, not the least of which is salvation. Our arms aren’t empty, thank God, we have four amazing little people in our home. But the suffering is real and I was able to share my gut-level emotions with God, I grasped at scripture and was comforted. (Job 38-41, Genesis 40, Psalms 91, 40, 27, 139, 136 just to begin) I feel certain this was due to the number of folks crying out on our behalf.

He is so much bigger than this.

That’s enough for now. He is not an unkind Father. He knows things I don’t. Despite these circumstances and even in these circumstances, HE LOVES US. I know that in a deeper way. I know it in the dark.

We did everything right by human standards. We used a consultant, we picked reputable agencies, we asked all the right questions and followed the advice of folks who’ve worked in adoption for a lifetime. So what happens when you do everything right and then everything goes wrong? Twice? The quick answer? I. Don’t. Know. BUT GOD DOES. I really believe that.

We’re not done praying for the other situation. We still don’t know where it all went wrong but we’re daily (hourly, by the minute) putting our trust in the ONE who does and asking Him to care for the mom, the baby as He sees fit. It’s not easy, but there is grace.

So now we wait again.

Not for the agency.

Not for a prospective Birth Mom.

Not for the right situation.

But for God to move.

He Will Hold Me Fast

Last night we sang the above words at church. Well, we listened anyway. The last time we heard them was May 4th. Right before our first birth mom chose us. I remember it vividly because that day I was undone for her and for all the other birth moms whose stories we’d come in contact with. That day I had a vision in my head of a child, our child, curled up on Zach’s chest. Because our Father in heaven loved us, we were going to get to love a baby who, likely, didn’t have a father. It broke me then, it breaks me now. He will hold me fast.

This past weekend we were at a counseling training at our church and heard these words from Milton Vincent (check out the series on forgiveness beginning in April) in reference to the cross and gospel thinking: “Christ has suffered as I am suffering right now, and infinitely more so, which means I am never alone in any pain.” Isaiah 53:3-4 If that doesn’t bring comfort nothing else will. When we really stop to look at the cross it’s not just a man dying – it’s so much more. I’m learning that.

The waiting, the grieving – it threatens to unravel me daily. But I also have great hope and know more deeply the love of God and His faithfulness.

He Will Hold Me Fast.

Adoption and the Gospel

I was adopted.

I grew up in a family who loved me and taught me the story of Jesus from a young age but I didn’t quite get it until I was 13. And then again (for real) at 18. I saw that, although I had an incredible earthly family, I also had a Father in heaven who loved me from before I was born. He knew my story before it was written. He moved heaven and earth to send His Son into this twisted world to redeem it. He had to dip down into the creation He’d perfectly made and get the mess all over Himself and His Boy to save us from destruction because He knew without it we’d be condemned forever. He loved us enough to do that. To live, to die, to live again. He loves us still. Enough to invite us into His forever family regardless of our past or race or social status or demeanor or looks or…anything. He gave everything to make us belong – to make us His sons and daughters.

You see, I can’t get over this story. I can’t get over that it’s mine. That God loved me enough to come into my world – messy and broken – to rescue me. Every day it moves me to be more, do more, love more – even though if I didn’t He’d love me still. It’s this gospel love that compelled Zach and I to adopt. Whenever someone says something about our adoption like, “I can’t believe you’re doing that” or “wow, that’s so good of you”, I feel sheepish. It wasn’t my idea. Adoption is GOD’s idea. We truly want to adopt because we know what it’s like to be adopted ourselves.

The more we go on waiting, hoping, the more I learn about God’s redeeming love.

Adoption. Is. Messy. There is brokeness and loss and sadness. There’s a great expense of money, time, energy, emotions. There’s the waiting, holding your breath as you wonder if the next situation will be “it”. Oftentimes I’ve looked at situations and thought, what would it really be like to bring that baby home? To meet that mother? It has in it the power to change not only us but the birth mom, her child, her family. The closer we get to adoption the more I’m forced to rely on Jesus. Either that or sink into the abyss.

He knowingly stepped into the mess to adopt us. He counted the cost and it was immeasurable, but He did it anyway.

The hope for a baby isn’t compelling us.
The desire to add to our family isn’t the real reason.
That we are “good” certainly isn’t it.
It’s the gospel, plain and simple.

I love this child. I love him enough to give, to trust, to obey, to get messy. I love him without ever seeing that he’ll love me back or appreciate everything we’ve done to bring him home. I love him with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

Because that’s how He loves me.

What we’re learning…

In the midst of growth – isn’t that is where most of our Christian life occurs? If we are doing what we are supposed to by grace aren’t we always in the midst of “stuff”? Or maybe coming out of it. Or going into it unbeknownst to us. Here’s what we’re learning in the midst of adoption, loss and life:

– God is GOOD. I know it’s cliche among believers. But He is. When I look back on those days when we were initially matched with our first birth mom (understand I’d love to use her name but I just can’t) I can see His hand at work in every detail. Even when the unthinkable happened and the three of us suffered an enormous loss. God was so merciful in the details, big and small. We found out when we were among family who, in a moments notice, took care of our children while we were gone. We were already 2 hours into an 8 hour drive because of our location. The delivery of that sweet baby was mercifully short. The timing worked so that we were only away from our kids for one night but we still got to spend ample time with the birth mom and our son. The hospital staff was incredible. The support from friends, family, co-workers, donors – tremendous. And our relationship with the mom after? Incredible. Even more so than it was before. It’s not like He doesn’t know what He’s doing. It can be hard AND good.

– Waiting is for everyone. I’ve learned this lesson over and over, it seems. Waiting to get married, waiting for a house, waiting for a job, waiting for a decision, waiting for a child, waiting out sickness or pain…but it just keeps coming back. And the thing is, we’re not waiting on any of those things. WE WAIT FOR GOD ALONE. We’re not waiting for another birth mom to love or for a child to come to our home. We’re learning to wait on Jesus! We’re not waiting for news from an agency or boss or doctor – we’re waiting for GOD to move. And when He’s seemingly quiet, the wait gets intense. But we press on “to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:3. Don’t think I sound super holy. I don’t get this right all the time. I’m anxious and angry at times, too. But I do know that my waiting is NOT on a human level. He’s sovereign after all.

– And then there is HOPE. There really is hope in suffering. There is something about being at a place where nothing seems right – save the grace of Jesus. It is a beautiful reality. Most of the time it seems like it fades after a trial has come and gone but right in the middle of it, when we’ve needed it the most, His love has carried us. Even if we’ve ignored it we can look back and see it. I can say this with certainty: never before have we felt more loved than we do now. The gospel is deeper, somehow, more meaningful. We look around and couldn’t be more thankful for the four little lives He’s entrusted to our care, the “things” He’s given. We don’t feel like God has done anything against our family. The trials are His way of loving us, even if it doesn’t make sense to us. His grace really is enough.

This isn’t all we’ve learned – and we don’t have it down. But it’s causing dependence in a brand new way.

severe t-storms and other good lessons

I’ve been feeling a little fitful today. Like I-want-to-get-up-and-do-something-significant-but-I-just-can’t-make-myself fitful. And, maybe-I-should-organize-my-whole-house-or-plan-my-entire-homeschool-year-but-that’s-unatainable fitful. Like I-want-to-know-my-future-get-this-horrible-weight-off-my-chest fitful. Anyway, so I’m finally doing something worthwhile with my day – cleaning the floor (like going to worship at church or feeding my family or whatever else wasn’t worthwhile – but it wasn’t in my mind) and my 5 year old keeps worrying about the looming “t-storm” coming. “Is it severe?” she asks between the dolphin noises she can make with her new water bottle. “Is it severe?”, seriously she asked at least 6 times in a 2 minute time frame. I’m getting a little frustrated. And she literally calls it “t-storm”. Anyway so I ask “Are you afraid of something, buddy?” And then she goes onto inform me that if it’s severe then the lights will go off and she won’t have a nightlight in her room or know what time to wake up and…”Sweetie, you’re trying to know the future and we just can’t know the future. But we know God will protect us whatever comes.” Instantly I was ashamed of myself. Do I really believe in God’s protection? In His provision?

I am that child. I have been begging God to let this storm pass and lead us onto our next “situation”. I have been so fitful to know our future all the while grieving for the babe who was supposed to be ours. At times I’ve thought, “I want out! I want this to be over!” understanding that it will never pass. It will never be over. Not till heaven. How can I be so sad over the things that never were yet so hopeful for the things that are yet to be? A few seconds later when my girl said, “It’s ok, right, mom? Cause if it IS a severe T-storm God will protect us, right mom?” I couldn’t answer at that moment. I know all the true things. I believe all of them. “Yes, babe”. It’s enough for now, I hope.

I do trust God.

I do believe He is sovereign.

On my less than wonderful days when I am fitful I am so thankful for grace.

Hope in the storm.

don’t rush the middle

Someone wise shared the above words with me last week when I was telling her that I’d love for this part of our journey to go quickly. That I’m ready for our next baby to be in our arms at any time – preferably soon. She said, “don’t pray away the middle.” She said it so lovingly and with so much grace that I heard it. sigh. It’s still not about me. BIG sigh. She probably never intended for me to think of it exactly that way but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Since then I’ve had lots of peace about continuing in adoption. God already knows our baby. He knows the when, the how, the who. I don’t need to get myself all worked up about the urgency I feel. We even had a situation over the weekend that seemed perfect – at first. But God really protected my heart and I knew before anyone else told me that this wasn’t our baby. That is amazing grace. He’s given me that all along and He totally doesn’t have to.

I feel pretty crummy about not boasting about what a great fundraiser our small group friends held for us till now. It was amazing. And really super fun. All the way from the decor to the food to the organization and prizes and people and music and fellowship. It was extremely humbling. I hope all of you who helped or came or donated know what a blessing it was to our family. To know we are loved is helping us now in ways that we did not anticipate. It was the most uncomfortable, comforting experience I’ve ever had – if that makes sense. Thank you! Thank you so much. We had friends give even after our tragedy – which means – there are others who believe that a baby is coming home with us. That is the sweetest gift.

I kind of laugh an awkward little ironic laugh when I think about myself at the beginning of this process. I really wanted to help someone. I thought that’s what this whole thing would be about. We’d be ministering the gospel to others through adoption. I think I’ve been given more opportunities than I ever even wanted and somehow fumbled my way through them. But as we go further and further into the ache and the loss and the hope and the growth – it’s me that’s changing. And we’ve had the gospel of grace ministered to us in more ways than I could count. By attending a fundraiser that we didn’t deserve and having amazing people give that don’t know us. By friends loving us and waiting with us, hurting with us when we didn’t get to bring our baby home. We didn’t deserve anything we’ve received over the past several months. But because of grace, we’re getting it. I’m reminded again – my biggest problem is already solved.

And Zach and I already have one child safe at home.

I’m thankful.