Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Our Adoption Story Part 2-- Blessing and Breakthrough

It's now the 2nd week of October, our kids are on fall break and we have just put our house on the market.  It was the time to see if our investment of time and money, sweat and a lot of love, that we have put into the house was worth it all. As I talked about in part one of our journey, we were tired from everything going on in our life but our home looked more beautiful than it ever had! Our "dream" house was dreamier than ever, and my heart silently ached when we put the for sale sign in the yard; yet I knew we were doing the right thing.  My faith was being stretched with our adoption and house being for sale.  I wanted answers as to how it all would work out, but we moved forward trusting God would work it out.

We had a very exciting week ahead of us!  Heath and I were about to get away on our very first vacation, just the two of us, since years before having children! We had planned on going on a final trip in the summer 2013, but to our delight ended up bringing home our kids much sooner than expected so our vacation was put on hold.  So much has happened in the past few years, and we needed a restful, fun trip together like never before!  It was an anniversary trip for us, but we decided to name this trip our Babymoon since we hoped that we would have a new baby sometime in the next year!  We had this getaway planned out and booked for months, and it was going to be a dream trip for us. We were flying to San Francisco to spend the better part of a week on the beautiful, dramatic coastline of central California in Monterey and Carmel!!  I have wanted to go to Carmel ever since I was a little girl, when I saw the original Parent Trap movie. Do you remember that classic movie starring Haley Mills? It was one of my favorites growing up.  Carmel is where the character Susan lived, and her dad owned a gorgeous ranch up on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They rode horses to the beach and she lived a life between mountains, ocean and their ranch. Since seeing that film I've been beckoned to see what beauty lay there in real life.  I knew one day I wanted to go there for myself, and I was about to this very week!

That very week had another exciting prospect.  On Monday, an expectant mother was to be given our profile book!  It was the first "situation" or "expectant mother" we wanted our profile book to go to.  She was looking for a couple who couldn't have children themselves and married at least 7 years, and we fit the bill.  I prayed over it and was drawn to this woman and her situation, so we had signed up a few weeks before for the agency to show our profile book to her and the day had finally arrived!  Although it was exciting we didn't have high expectations.  There were 10 profile books given to this expectant mother, so that means we would be one of 10 couples lives that she would be sifting though deciding which home she wanted to lovingly place her baby in.  It has to be huge deal on her part,I can't imagine. So with her receiving 10 total profile books, we wanted to be realistic, especially after what we had just been told...

The previous week I asked the adoption agency director if we would be notified even if we were not chosen.  Instead of just answering the question, she curtly replied that we shouldn't expect to be chosen or "match" with this one or for a while, because we already had children. She said it won't be as fast as it was adopting the last time.  We had kids already and that changes everything.

Ummm.  Ok.

That harsh reality felt like a punch in the gut to hopeful parents, but we knew it was true.  Most expectant mothers or birth parents are looking for a home without children already there, and I can understand that. You see, in our first adoption, God completely surprised us by being chosen the very first time we showed our profile book!  We realize how miraculous that seems when many people wait through several showing and several months to be matched.  I know God has a plan that looks different for each couple, but it was really amazing that we showed our profile book only once!  It wasn't a seamless adoption the first time around but we did match super fast.

So the Monday came and went and we heard nothing from the agency, but we were pleasantly distracted by starting our Babymoon that very day. I was Frodo leaving the shire, going on an adventure!  We caught a long, beautiful flight across country just the two of us flying into what seemed like an eternal sunset that evening.

I felt so  alive doing something adventurous with my husband after many years!  We landed in San Francisco pretty much in the middle of the night for this mama and immediately knew we weren't in Kansas anymore, but we loved it all the more.  After some run-around catching transportation to the car rental place and picking up a beautiful car, we ended our night at a hotel we booked close to the airport and fell asleep around 2:30am (central) and drifted off to dreamland.

Did I miss our kids....YES!  Did I fight a bit of mom guilt for enjoying it so much... YES.  The first 2 nights were hard for some reason.  I think it's because we've never had so much distance between us and our children. But after I talked to Grammy and heard how much fun they were having, I decided to fully relax and enjoy 110%, so that's what we did! I really believe the Lord was giving us this time away as a gift for our marriage.

The next day we wanted to see San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge because we've never been there before, so we took a morning train into the city. There was a great little coffee and crepe place right across the street from the train station where we got off.

We enjoyed a lovely coffee and shared a delicious crepe on the patio where there was no humidity and where the skyscrapers surrounded out.  It was wonderful!  It was new!  It was what I wanted to experience!  We then took a bus directly through the city and at one point was by far the minority as we went through Little Italy and Chinatown. Many of the streets we passed looks filthy, many people who got on the bus were wearing masks because of the fires outside the city.  So many people were by themselves on these buses and trains and there were a varying number of languages spoke.  Our bus was shadowed by sky scrapers block after block after block.

Everything was different but it was all a wonder to behold!  We were experiencing so much culture our first day in California!

San Francisco was different than most cities we've been to in the way that most of them have a small section of downtown sky scrapers.  The downtown/sky scrapers here went on forever! It reminded me of my 8th grade trip to NYC so many years ago. The bus filled to what I would consider past the max capacity until most everybody unloaded again somewhere in Chinatown.  We continued as it took us up and down the famous hills that the city is made of and we snapped several pictures before finally arriving to our destination, at Ghiradelli Square!

 It felt like a slice of romance when we got off there and had the view of the bridge as we overlooked the water.  I was in love with this man who flew us across the country to adventure together and reconnect! It's hard to sum it all up our time there, but the highlights were a fantastic clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl for me and fish n chips for him, at a restaurant by the water.  Followed by a nice walk and ending with a couple cones of Ghiradelli ice cream and a new silk scarf at a local boutique.

After walking a few blocks we took a trolley cable car (!) back to the train station.  Getting around the city was not what I would call easy-breezy for us, but we took it all in stride and eventually got back to our car in San Bruno.  The day could not have been better!  It was rush hour (yikes) and we were headed down to Monterey where we were staying the rest of the trip.  Oh my word, my butterflies of excitement continued as we drove our stylish car across the city and out to beautiful California countryside with our favorite music going, sun roof open and our fullest of hearts!  The palm trees changed to evergreen trees and then to magnificent Monterey Cypress during our 2 hour drive.  (The Monterey Cypress tree only lives in this very place and they are stunning!)

We stayed at a beautiful seaside Inn right overlooking Monterey Bay just down from Cannery Row.

 Each morning we awoke to the sound of sea lions that congregated on the rocks and waves crashing on the shore.  The sun came up over the mountains in the distance.

We enjoyed breakfast and coffee delivered to our room, so thoughtfully!  Our little ritual was putting on the soft robes provided--because it was cool--and setting on our balcony to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We fell in love all over again with each other as we sipped coffee and listened to the sounds of the sea. This was truly vacation! 

We went to Carmel and took the (famous) 17 mile drive with the windows down!  This had to be one of the highlights of my life! We stopped at several of the look out places and sat on the benches and took pictures as we were trying to take it all in.  There was a beach that we parked at and I got out and I actually felt like this must be what Heaven is like.

The wild, untamed beauty of creation with my Love was almost too much...I was trying to keep my tears of joy at bay!  The deep blue water making great white waves crashing on the dramatic rocks.... The salty breeze on our faces...  Heath and I feel like we are a million miles away from real Kentucky life and we were more relaxed than we've been since our honeymoon, 13 years before.

We went into Carmel by the Sea and loved driving around the interesting, prestigous neighborhoods that were established a century ago.  Not only was the architecture of each home amazing, so many of the houses had multi-million dollar views of the Pacific.  The town has a European flair to it making the streets like something out of a movie!

We found our favorite--by far-- restaurant, called La Bicyclette.  We had a real French-Italian experience there with the most delicious (and expensive) lunch we've had in our whole lives!  From the gorgeous roasted vegetable salad to the wood fired napoleon pizza to the dark espresso and decadent chocolate dessert, it was pure perfection! 

The walls were a cozy, chalk board-esque color and the dark original wood trim highlighted all the right things in the old building. It had soaring ceilings and grand windows and original wood floors.  The atmosphere was straight out of something from a romantic movie with the breeze coming in the open doors and candles glowing on each table.

 People were meeting up with hugs, families and friends gathered, and impeccably dressed people dined. It's a place where you don't rush for lunch but savor the moment of who you are with. It felt a bit out of our element yet it was right where we were supposed to be!  We people watched and ate and admired and savored each bite like it was our last.  We fell in love with food and culture all over again at that bistro, and I hope one day we will be back there.  It's one of those places you wish you could fly across country just for the experience!

Each day in California we woke up slowly to the seaside sunrise. It was easy to get up when a new adventure just waiting to be discovered together and when this is the view.

We found a coffee shop that became our favorite place, called Bright Coffee.  It had a quintessential California vibe and they made some of the best coffee in which they served out of handmade artisan mugs they also sold in the shop there.  The shop is called Lilify.  Heath surprised me with a leather banded bracelet I wanted, and we bought a couple Christmas gifts there, as well!

If you notice, we're definitely foodies when we go out of town, and this trip was becoming a food lover's paradise!  We had delicious seafood and steak one night when we celebrated our anniversary by dressing up and getting dinner at the Chart House.  I'm still drooling over the food and amazed at the creativity they plated it with.  Heath told them it was our anniversary when he made the reservation, so they sat us at the perfect table to have a full view of the water.  Before it got dark we were watching all the adorable sea otters playing together out there!

We had a picturesque drive through the countryside between the mountains where we saw where huge farms of lettuce and strawberries and other produce that are shipped to groceries around the states.  So much of our produce is grown in California that the area is referred to the "salad" of America!  There were vineyards after beautiful vineyards.  It looked like we were in Italy!  We drove through a redwood forest on the way back to San Francisco and that alone could be another post! It was another bucket list dream of mine to see the redwoods.  Like I said, the beauty and the vastness of God's creation was overwhelming me in the best way in California!

This trip was more than I ever dreamed and a far cry from our every day life. but please remember friends, that Heath and I do not live in such a way that takes us jet setting and renting luxury cars on a regular basis!  I don't share these pictures to flaunt what we did but to show you how awesome after waiting so long for such a trip we did get to take one of our dream getaways together!  We truly don't take it for granted, not a single meal or day we were there.  We live with our lives revolving around our kids and family and ministry but for this week it was about the two of us and it was wonderful to focus solely on the love of my life. We've been through the good, the bad, and the ugly and we will still always choose each other.  I can't imagine this trip, this life with anybody else. My forever Love.

It was Saturday, our last full day in Monterey.  We walked and saw and tasted and experienced the area, but as good as it all was, the Lord in all His goodness and faithfulness saved the best for last!

We awoke to another pretty morning and I hopped in the shower.  (This bathroom, by the way, was much nicer than our master at home so taking showers felt all the more luxurious!) I could hear Heath on the phone in the other room, which was odd since he hasn't talked on the phone at all on this trip, but I suspected that maybe it was a unique situation with a patient or something like that.  When I stepped out of the shower Heath came up to me bright eyed.

He said he had just gotten off the phone with our adoption specialist (social worker)!

Huh.  Really?!!  I thought.  That's interesting...

She said that the expectant mother who was given our profile book the Monday before, the one who was given 10 profile books, the first expectant mama we even showed our profile book to.... she wanted to meet us and us alone!  She was choosing us!  We were about to be matched...on the first try, again!!!

We found out she was having a baby girl who was due Valentines Day!!!!

What in the world!?? ( I thought she had already chosen since we heard nothing all week. )

Do dreams really come true???

We were both astonished and began crying in each other's arms!  Then I jumped up and down praising God in the bathroom in Monterey California.  I could feel the presence of God with us there as He answered our prayer!

You know how so many people have gone on trips and come back to later find out they became pregnant on that trip?  A friend of mine opened my eyes to the fact that's essentially what happened with us--we were on our romantic getaway and we "concieved" an adopted baby there, if you will.  Maybe only you who struggle with infertility out there can understand how truly sweet of the Lord it was to orchestrate our match this way!  He knew how special it would be for us to get the call while on our dream vacation together, and He made entire experience of finding out more beautifully than we could've imagined.

That morning we were honestly brimming with joy unspeakable and hearts of gratitude!  Our Redeemer lives!  I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!  We were carrying a delightful secret that I felt pregnant because we were expecting a baby.  It wasn't a done deal and it never is in adoption, until the finalization is complete, but we trusted God and I can honestly say I didn't have fear this time weighing me down.

We went to our Bright Coffee for a latte, and as we were walking out Heath received a text.  I asked him to take my picture in the front of the coffee shop with my coffee in hand (like we do when we go fun places), and as he was about to say "3" he said nonchalant, "we just got a full price offer on our house and another buyer is putting in an offer, too."

WHAT?!?!  Is this what you would call the floodgates of God's favor opening!!???

"Click" goes the camera.  He captured a blissful me standing there in shock and amazement.

Just 10 days after listing our house, on the same day we matched, as we are on our dream vacation together, we learned that we are about to sell our house and for more than we imagined.  He allowed us to match the first time, again. So do you see what I mean when I say the Lord orchestrated it all and things were better than if we had tried planning it all ourselves!!?  When we said "yes" to the call of adopting this time around we weren't sure how we would pay for it all, but we knew God would provide somehow. We put our faith into action when He gave us the wisdom to put our house on the market--which was a sacrifice for me--but only was to gain something much greater, a child.  We sold our house at the same time we matched, and we had means to pay for this adoption without any fundraising at all!!!  Only God.

If you're reading my story and wonder if God will open His floodgates in your life, know that is exactly what He wants to do!  He says that He came to give us life and life more abundantly. That all His promises are "yes and amen"  and that all things work together for good to those who love Christ and those who are called according to His purpose!  He is our Redeemer.  The one who died on the cross to save our soul and who also call us to step out in faith, believing before seeing.

Daughters and sons of God, you may be in a valley now or in the waiting room.  You may feel like you're being tested or maybe your faith is new and small like a mustard seed.  Maybe you are losing hope of whatever it is you are believing God for.  It may be breakthrough in finances, in an addiction in your life or a loved one's life, the salvation of a loved one, your child may be facing a discouraging diagnosis.  You may be in the trenches of parenting toddlers or teenagers, or like me you may be a woman struggling with infertility who has waited to see what her family was going to look like.  After exhausting infertility treatments, I knew that in order for me to have children a miracle would have to take place.  My faith was a mustard seed faith (but that's big enough for God to move mountains with!).  In fact, I have been in many of those very places and I have an encouraging word for you.

Put your trust in God!  Get back up another day but not in your own strength, in His!  You can not will things to happen, that will only wear you out!  Bring your burden to the Lord, rest in Him and trust Him to move in your situation.  Cry out to God, talk to Him.  Worship Him.  The Lord is making a way for you, although it may not be exactly how you envisioned. It took me years to release the grip of my plan on what our family should look like and trust in God even though I didn't know what the outcome would be. I would've been completely overjoyed and thrilled with even one child, but He had plans for us to have more!  He is sovereign and sees from the beginning to the end, but I promise it will be what is best. Keep trusting God!

We flew back home to Kentucky the next day, and we were soooo ready to see our children!  We were brimming on the inside and our mind reeling with it all having just accepted an offer on our house just above the asking price and now growing our second daughter in my heart who was due Valentines.  We came back home with our cup overflowing for each other and for the Lord.

It was indeed more than a romantic getaway for us.  It the time when God showed us His glory!

Stand on The Word of God!
These scriptures are a good place to begin and have gotten me through many hard days.  Remember when you pray the Word of God, it will never come back void!  The Lord loves you so much!!! 

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of Your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday.  (That means it's assured!)  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Psalm 37:3-7

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  
Hebrews 4:16

For the vision awaits it's appointed time, it hastens to the end--it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory, in Jesus Christ.
Phillipians 3:19

For nothing will be impossible with God.
Luke 1:38

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.
Luke 1:45


Sarah Grace said...

Love this story so much!! Such a faithbuilder and encouragement!!

Kathy said...

As I'm reading this post I am remembering my trip to San Francisco many years ago. I was at a lot of the same places you were: Ghiradelli Square, Chinatown, riding the cable car, the redwoods. It brought back so many wonderful memories. I truly left my heart there. And then I get to the end of the post and I have tears running down my cheeks. What an awesome, loving heavenly Father we have! There is no way you could have planned this out. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story.