Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Final Thoughts

So.....I want to thank you for enduring the month with me regarding adoption posts.  I know, I know, the end of the month isn't really here, but I am concluding this journey this evening unless something bright and new hits me for tomorrow.

I have lots of friends in my life that have adopted.  I seriously am blessed and thankful for those that are in my life.  One cool thing is, adoption is becoming a more accepted option.  I am so glad!  My kids will always grow up knowing all about it.  The good, the bad, the ugly and the fabulous.  There are so many different aspects and angles.  It is glorious.

Be sure to share with your kids.  Let them know how adoption is out there.  Read them books.  There are lots of books out there.  We have many for our kids, but there are also books out there for you to help your biological children to understand about adoption.

Look for ways to help.  Whether that be to encourage families in the wait, help them financially or just to be there to offer free babysitting when momma and daddy need a small breath.  Love on the kiddos.  Being adopted makes them normal.  Normal.  Just because they are adopted doesn't mean they need to be singled out.  It does mean they will deal with some things that biological children don't, but it also means that they will deal with some different situations.  They will be strong.

On adoption I didn't cover much about is International adoption.  Well, basically because I know very little about it.  I have several friends who have adopted internationally, but I don't know much of the insides of it.  I do know it is wonderful.  A great option!

So, I hope that you know.....I love adoption.  I am pro-adoption!  I am a mom thanks to adoption.  I am grateful for adoption and everything about it.

Please, let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I will be happy to answer them!  Thank you all for reading and being a part of this month!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Guest Blogger--Janice!!!!!

God Wants Us to Do Hard Things

We left the hospital feeling like we failed. With an empty car seat behind us, we sat emotionally and physically exhausted as we returned to Houston from St. David’s Hospital in Austin. The next day, we sat around the dinner table with our four kiddos. They ask “where is our baby brother?” ”What happened?” “Why did CPS not let him come home?” Understanding that God is sovereign in all things, our only answer was “God wants us to do hard things.” This is a refrain my children hear often from me, but today as their mom and dad sit with blood shot eyes and no appetite because of stress, they get to see us practice what we preach.

Now, there is no time to describe the roller coaster of our adoption experience. We arrived at the hospital when our son was one day old and from the moment we arrived we experienced one major hurdle after another. “You can only jump one hurdle at a time,” I assured my husband. Since CPS was involved, it made things even more complicated. We had made arrangements with the birth mom to adopt her child privately. Even though (after a bunch of drama!) we got the mother’s termination of rights and a hospital release, CPS still filed for custody. We sat with our son that Monday morning in a hospital room making phone calls, praying and trying to figure out what to do as we had no representation in court that was to meet later that day. Despite our best efforts, at 4:00, we got the news that our son was going into CPS custody.  “Should we just walk away?” my husband rightly asks. We knew that we did not want to work with CPS, for several reasons I won’t go into (not only due to space, but because I don’t want to discourage anyone from working with CPS). Being foster parents was not an option for our family and the possibility of going through up to 6 months of litigation to fight with Austin CPS in court seemed unreasonable. However, as it stood, God had not yet completely shut the door, He just allowed things to be difficult. We knew we were not in sin. God calls us to care for orphans (James 1). We knew were fighting for the future of this child from being at the mercy of a godless government agency. He was worth fighting for and we had to recognize this as a trail that God desired us to walk through. Physically, mentally and emotionally we were exhausted. But spiritually we were solid. While there was chaos all around us, we hung onto the things we did know for sure: God is good. God does not leave us or forsake us. The testing our our faith produces perseverance and hope that does not disappoint us, which is why we can have joy (also James 1…whew, good thing the kids and I memorized that chapter this summer!) We acknowledged that we did not need to fear difficulty and hardships because we knew God ordained them. God wants us to do hard things.

After 2 weeks in foster care, our son was placed in our car seat and we brought him to Houston. A month later CPS created case law in order to turn him over to us for a private adoption (something that truthfully everyone said CPS just doesn’t do!). God placed so many amazing Christian sisters in our lives like our lawyer and case managers who literally dropped everything they were doing to come to our aid. God was so merciful. Next month we return to court to finalize the adoption. Honestly in the back of my mind I expect something else crazy to happen when we arrive in court. But that’s ok. Because God who began this good work will bring it to completion…no matter how tumultuous the path may be.

**I'm thankful to know Janice and her sweet kiddos.  It has been a blessing to watch them go in faith on this journey!*

Janice & her hubby

The sweet kiddos!  All of them! 

Clara is ours!

So, we left the hospital Sept 17, 2013.  Our princess was almost 1 month old.  A couple things I didn't tell you in the last blog.....remember how the Dr's told us that we could expect a long NICU stay?! Well, they continued to tell us that.  Even when she was weaning down on the medication, they continued to remind us that this could be a long process.  Now, I understand that is really what they "need" to tell us, but when it came to the day they released us.....all the Dr could say was TLC goes a long way.  To which I replied, prayers-our God protected her and helped her through.  It was very evident to us.  She was where she was due to the prayers that had been lifted for her for months before she was born & the time she was in the NICU.  We were so thankful.

Home.  It was a ride.  For the first several months this child SCREAMED and I really mean SCREAMED NON STOP for the entire time she would be in the car seat.  Whether it was 2 minutes or 30 minutes, it was crazy.  There were moments I would actually call Dan on the phone (which was blue toothed in the van) just so he could enjoy the moments too.  Yup, I am that wife.  Every night around 6pm, Clara would scream.  Scream for 2 hours straight!  Oh, those were the moments that I lived for.  yeah.  NOOOOO.  However, we made it.  We survived.  She eventually stopped and her withdrawal symptoms became less and less.  Yes, she still had some.  They advised us that she could show signs for up to 18 months.  The cool she grew, the less we knew.  All of the "what ifs" that could've been, were not.  She was fine!  God had truly protected her.  Seriously, that was a miracle we were thankful for.

Our adoption legal process hit many bumps and potholes.  It ended up that we didn't finalize our adoption until June 19, 2015.  It was a glorious day & sooooo worth the wait!  We were complete.  Our family was full.

This was our finalization day!!!!!  

One final thing I will share about our little lady.  Clara Harmony.  I told you how and where Elijah Dylaun got his name.  So, Clara.  Well, there is this lady in our lives that we adore.  I grew up without Grandparents.  My grandparents passed away before I was born & when I was young, so I never knew them.  When I met Dan, there was this lady who loved me as if I was one of her own grandchildren.  I now knew what having the love of a grandparent was.  Grandma Davis was that lady.  Dan always had admired her and loved her.  We knew that if we were ever blessed with a little girl we wanted to name her after Grandma.  Well, Grandma Davis, her name is Clara Mercy, but she was always called Dolly and so.....we originally had planned on naming a little girl Mercy Mae.  Well, when we moved to TX, we have a dear friend who takes a lot of our pictures and her photography business is MercyMae Photography. we talked about our options, of which there were MANY that came through....we decided on Clara.  Even though Grandma never really went by Clara, we knew that we wanted our daughter to have her name.  So, Clara it was.  For the middle name, we had desires, but we asked birthmom if she wanted to have a say in her middle name.  She thanked us, but declined.  So, we went with Harmony, which is my mom's maiden name.  I've always heard a lot about my mom's mom, so it seemed perfect to use my mom's maiden name as Clara's middle name.  So......Clara Harmony it is and we LOVE it and it FITS her perfectly!

So, I will leave you with this....we were blessed to have Mamma-Great (what our kids call Grandma) here with us for a while this summer.  So, I will leave you with some pictures of my 2 Clara's!  

This picture grabs my heart!  

Clara was enjoying some alone time with Mamma-Great!

Our Queen and Princess

Spending time outside together

Something was funny!  Pure love!

-thank you for reading our adoption journeys

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Guest Blogger Shanda!!!!

I asked a friend to do a blog on their journey with Foster Care/Foster to Adopt.  Here is her post!!!!  Thank you so much Shanda!

Shanda and her family (currently)

When I was asked to be a guest blogger my heart raced y’all, I have 5 littles!  My first thought was “How am I going to find the time??” I knew I wanted to share our story. I talk about it with anyone willing to listen, even people in the Walmart check-out line. I want people to care about foster kids, like deeply care. I want people to hurt for them, ache even. Not to the point that they just care with emotions, but with actions. Like give it all to God and live with abandon actions. You see-that’s what we did. Not because we are something amazing (we’re very ordinary), or because we’re rich (people often think it’s expensive, its not!), or because we have so much free time (we’re actually extremely busy), or because we’re great parents (we rely on the Lord to fill in all those many gaps)! There’s nothing different or special about us, except that we chose to follow the Lord’s calling on our life, and boy have we been blessed! 
My husband, Julius, and I always knew we wanted to adopt. We had no idea what that would look like for our family and original plans included having a biological baby and adopting one. The Lord began to speak to me through sermons at church, billboards, radio hosts, He began stirring inside of me this passion for this journey that I never saw coming. We took the leap and went to a CPS informational meeting. It was no commitment, just come hear about it (these meetings can be found here . We went in thinking we would just adopt from CPS and left the meeting feeling the calling for foster care as well. Fast forward almost 4 years later-we have adopted two and have fostered 8 others. Our journey is much too long to share through out a one day blog post and has been such a roller coaster ride. The Lord has worked on my heart, my head, my soul, and every other part of the human body to tear it down and rebuild it up new. To show me to live for his Kingdom, not my own and to rely on his strength, most certainly not the little bit that I thought I had. 
There are so many myths about foster care that I wish I could debunk here. The most common thing I hear is “We thought about fostering, but I couldn’t handle it when they go home. How do you do it?”. Let me just be frank-I want to really scream “HOW DO YOU NOT DO IT?”. We’re talking about kids being abused, homeless, hurt, hungry and traumatized, and you’re asking me about how I do it? How I live my comfortable life with everyday normal problems? I don’t-I invite the hurt inside to my very own home, I pray for strength for healing, for peace, for comfort, to make a difference, to make it through this second or the next, to have a heart like Jesus, to see these kids the way He sees them, to love them despite what it will cost me. DESPITE WHAT IT WILL COST ME. It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about what the Lord has asked of you. If you feel that passion, the stirring, for caring for kids in need. Rather it be for foster care or adoption, get on your knees and pray. Pray that the Lord will show you what He has for you and will lead you down your own unique path according to His will. 

I would love to answer any questions that you may have about fostering or adopting through CPS. I can be reached through FB messenger (Shanda Lewallen Karow) or by email at  If you haven’t seen the news, there is a crisis right now from shortage of homes. I won’t try to convince you that “the time is now” or “get busy today”! When you listen, the Lord will take care of the rest

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tough Times

That first night, we were all exhausted, we were torn, our hearts wanted to stay in the NICU, but we knew, we needed a good nights rest.  So, we said see you later to our sweet Clara and went home for the night.  

The next day I went back to the hospital right away.  Birthmom and I had some time together and then I spent my day with our princess.  Nurses came in and out to help me feed her, and figure out all the goods.  I did kangaroo care quite a bit.  We knew that attachment issues could arise for several reasons, but especially from the drug addiction.  

Withdrawals.  Probably the most difficult thing EVER that I have gone through.  She was on a detox regiment.  Dr's and nurses were very clear to us that we were in for about 2-3 months.  This was day 1 and I was strong.  I knew this going in, so I had to be ready.

Moments were precious.  Moments with Clara were tough, but so loving.  She started out doing so well.  

On Sunday, birthmom was released from the hospital, but before she left, she signed adoption paperwork.  So that part was completed, but the legal process couldn't begin until Clara was released from the hospital too.  

At one point, the delivering and caring for OBGYN told me that he thought we were brave and he wouldn't have adopted this baby.  I was in shock.  I just replied, we trust that God has protected her and taken good care of her. 

Over the next couple weeks Clara amazed all the Dr's.  By the end of the second week when we were leaving they told us the next morning she would be reduced on her meds.  But, the next morning, we got there and she was back up to a full dose.  What was happening is that every day one or both of us were there and she would do great, then we would leave at night to go home and she would worsen.  It was devastating!  So, that day, I determined that was it.  I was sleeping there.  I wasn't leaving.  

The blessing was this....Dan was able to take time off, which was great because Eli started Kindergarten the Monday after she was born.  So, we would take him to school in the morning and then go see Clara.  We would leave to pick him up and go back to her, or I would stay there and wait for Daddy & Eli to come back.  It was a lot of driving.  But, she was worth it.

It was also a blessing because we had LOTS of visitors at the NICU.  People in our life drove the distance to come and visit with us.  They came and held her and loved on her and we knew we were blessed.

So, by this point Dan was able to be home with Eli & I stayed at the hospital.  I had 2 chairs in our area the I slid together with a foot stool in between and I slept there at night.  The NICU nurses were amazing, but by this point, I was the one taking care of her.  I only called on them if I needed help.  I slept like that for 2 nights.  Then, they allowed me to move into the NICU "next step" room.  It was seriously amazing.  It was like my own hotel room.  I had a shower and bathroom in there, I had a bed (ahhhhhh) and a tv, sink and all I needed for sweet Clara.  

Since staying at the NICU she had been progressing very quickly.  I was with her 24/7 now.  Dan and Eli would come up on the nights they could, but we tried to be smart about the traveling.  Now that I was in the room, they fed me breakfast, lunch and dinner, which was amazing.  I never thought I would get that.  

Sept 16, we got good news.  They were taking her off of all MEDICINE!  WOO HOOO!  They were all shocked at how well she was doing, but we had many people praying for her. The day went great! They told me based on the evening and how it went, she could be sent home the next day.  

Well, September 17, 2013.......we went home!!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!

Enjoy these pictures from that day.  

Her going home outfit.  Had this made and loved it!  

World's Best Big Brother!  He was so proud of his little sister!

Eli was super excited that we were leaving together as a family!

Eli got to push her out of the NICU.  It was a very memorable moment! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

She's Here!!!

The day went slowly.  It was tough.  That little princess was sure being stubborn.  She did not want to come out!  Dan joined us at the hospital for a while, but had to head home early afternoon to be at the meet the teacher night with Eli.  

We had an amazing staff in the hospital.  Our nurses stuck by our side the entire time.  They were amazing.  

By 5pm she was progressing nicely.  Epidural had been given and we were ready to go.  Dan was with Eli.....awaiting updates and I was getting more and more nervous by the minute.  

At 5:24pm our baby girl arrived!  It was amazing.  Witnessing the birth was amazing!  I was seriously blown away!  Birthmomma did an incredible job.  Seriously it was fantastic!  But, as soon as the baby came, they whisked her to the NICU.  She hadn't cried at all.  I texted Dan and said, she is here.  The nurses escorted me to the NICU even though I was torn and was feeling terrible for leaving birthmom.  But, in the NICU, I was sat down and heard the loudest crash of thunder, followed by seeing a bright rainbow.  Seriously, it was so crazy!  I knew that was God's sign telling me "He has it in His control!"  Just then I heard a slight cry, it honestly sounded like a newborn kitten.  It was a sad, quiet cry, but I was jumping for joy inside and crying outside. 

As one set of nurses were taking care of my baby, another was talking with me getting information.  

What is her name? they asked.  Clara Harmony Davis
they continued to get more information from me & gave me all the NICU details.  Clara was here.  She weighed 6lbs 10.7oz *not bad for being a month early* and was 19 1/4" long. 

But, here is where our toughest journey began.  I will share that info tomorrow, but for now, enjoy some pictures from the first night.  

Remember that Big Brother shirt we bought & prayed over?  Well, HERE IT IS!  PERFECT FIT!  Now, THAT is GOD!  ONLY GOD! (He was SOOO proud to wear it!)

After meet the teacher, Daddy & Eli rushed to the hospital.  This is our very first family picture of 4!!!!!  

Eli is the BEST big brother EVER and I seriously mean the BEST.  We couldn't hold Clara the first night, but Eli put his hand up there & she held on to his finger TIGHT!  INSTANT sibling connection.  From 2 birthmoms, yes, but siblings forever yes!!!  Bound in love, built through adoption and Brought together by God....our family!

Our sweet Clara Harmony.  Her beginnings were rough, but God had it all in His control!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Baby Girl

Because birthmom had to spend a night in the hospital due to high blood pressure and she had perinatal diabetes, so we had weekly dr appointments.  She was doing well with her methadone treatments daily and we texted and talked daily.

I will not lie.  There were a LOT of days that were drama filled for various reasons and some of which I will not share on here.  Even though we have a relationship with birthmom, it is not to the point yet where we are open about everything and even though I am not naming her in this blog, I have to respect her and not put everything out there.

So, having said that, we had some rough patches, but I truly loved our birthmom.  I do love her.  Regardless of her choices and whether or not I agree(d) with them, I have to believe that God placed her in my life for a reason.  The truth of the matter is, just because there were drugs, it didn't make her choice to place for adoption any easier.  People have asked me, weren't you mad at her for doing that to your baby?  My answer is short.  No.  I understand addiction more than I care to admit.  I don't understand drug addiction, but I do other addictions.  Here is my take on it....when she found out she was pregnant, she got help with methadone.  She also made a tough choice.  She decided to place.  Yes, most likely the baby would've become a ward of the state & she wouldn't have been able to keep her anyhow, BUT, she chose to place!  That is a praise in my book!  That is something worthy of respecting.  She placed her baby ahead of herself.  She worked with an agency in TX, which meant that she left her home for a few months to come have the baby here.  She had to leave her comforts and all she knew to place the needs of the baby first.

Next appointment went well and we had the next appointment set for Aug 22.  On that date we ended up going straight to be admitted for induction.  Her blood pressure had elevated and they wanted to induce the next morning.

Now, y'all, I had so much going on at this point.  Dan was working in a different part of TX, so I had to call him & have him get home.  Eli was to have a meet the teacher for Kindergarten on the 23rd.  Since birthmom had agreed to allow me in the delivery room with her, I wanted to be there with her!  So, I took her to the hospital, got her taken care of, then I went home to gather some of my stuff.  Dan got home, I grabbed everything I needed and back to the hospital I went.

It was exciting for me.  I got to stay there.  We chatted and then, decided to sleep.  I slept, but I am fairly certain she didn't sleep much.  Of course, there were nurses in and out and a constant monitor on the baby.  *which, I loved, btw*

August 23, 2013...the day started out EARLY.  Pitocin was stated at 5am.  5am!!!!!  Y'all, I DO NOT LIKE 5 am.  But, on this day, I was happy to be up at 5 am.  However, pitocin doesn't make things happen super fast all the time.  So, we waited.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our 2nd Journey Continues

Birthmom picked us.  She was happy with us.  She was thrilled to place with us and we were super happy!!!!!

I kept in touch with her and even took her to her next Dr. appointment.

In July, Elijah & I flew back North to spend time with family & to be at my sister's wedding.  It was a great trip and I enjoyed being able to talk to my family, especially my mom & dad about our new pending baby.  My dad told me that felt the baby was a girl.

Now, you have to understand something.  My dad is not a psychic, but he often predicted and knew the sex of babies in our family & he was never, I mean never, wrong.  You see, we talked about this issue a lot that weekend.  Mostly because I was getting fever to buy items for the nursery, but I was waiting until we had another ultrasound before I bought anything.

So, this girl who wanted to have 10 boys was all of the sudden really secretly praying for a girl.  Hoping for a girl, but I was excited for a boy.  I knew no matter what we had, I just wanted a healthy baby and that was really important for this.  We prayed and asked many of people to pray that our baby would be healthy.

Beginning of August, I went with birthmom to a Dr. appointment.  She was having an ultrasound.  I was so excited.  I was trying hard not to be overly so, but eeeekkkkk.....I was about to for sure know.  Time seemed to stand still.  In the waiting room I was anxious.  I was ready, but appointments never happen on time, right?!  HA!

Then it happened.  She was called back.  I think I jumped up as fast as I could.  I tried to be patient as she had her vitals taken.  Then it happened.  I heard the heartbeat.  I cried!  I saw the picture on the ultrasound (which by the way----I have NO IDEA how people see everything they see on there).  I was already crying at this point.  It was amazing.

First of all, it was incredible that she allowed me to share this moment with her, but it was also amazing because, although this was my 2nd baby, this was my first time ever being a part of an ultrasound.  I was in awe.

The technician asked if we knew the gender.  Birthmom said, well, the first ultrasound they told me I was having a boy.  Technician looked puzzled and said, well, definitely not a boy.  You're having a girl.  WHAT?!  Eeeekkkkkk!!!!!  I'm having a girl!  A girl!

Sugar and spice and everything nice!  That is all I needed to say!  My dad was right!  So, by this point I was now giddy.  We saw the Dr. next and I am not sure I remember anything he said.  I was too excited.

After the appointment, birthmom and I had some food and then I took her home.  I couldn't believe I was going to have a daughter.  I couldn't believe it, but I was still so scared.  I was so nervous that this would all fall through.  It was tough.

The next appointment we had, the Dr. sent her straight to the hospital.  Her blood pressure was elevated and she needed to be watched.  She ended up staying the night and was released the next morning.

By this point our nursery was starting to come together.  Elijah and Dan had painted her room a bright yellow and the decorations were being placed.

In the meantime we had several people bless us with financial donations and we were overwhelmed.  We hit many potholes in the path to this point, but we kept going.  As scary as it was, we had a peace.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Be Still and Know-I am God

Waiting seemed to be our lesson throughout adoption.  We waited a LOT.  There were a lot of HURRY up and get the money for this and then WAIT!

So, since we wired the money on Monday we had to wait.  We knew very little information.  All we could do was pray.  I just remember thinking about all the possibilities.  The good....we were going to have a baby!  The bad....we could be played.  We could've just sent a huge amount of money, like HUGE, and we could lose it all.  Which means that we just took a leap.  We have a loan to repay whether or not we have a baby in our arms at the end of this.  THAT is scary.

Elijah---he kept praying.  He was faithful in his praying.  He knew that something was going on, but he didn't know all the details.

Our agency called us and we filled out paperwork.  We started all the inspections, fingerprinting, TB testing, etc, etc, etc....Home studies, being sure to have all the health information written, we had to cross our t's and dot our i's!  It was imperative that we continued this at a good rate.

We received information about our birthmom.  She was an addict.  She was currently on methadone and was receiving daily treatments.  Along with this information there was a lot of what if's for the baby.  However, we were in.  We were committed.  We felt that God would take care of this baby.  So, we just prayed & asked others to join us in prayer.

Because of the open adoption with have with Eli's birthmom, I wanted to meet this birthmom as soon as possible.  I felt firmly that I needed to do this.  I couldn't shake the feeling.  I spoke with the agency & while they were open to it, they made sure I knew that it was completely up to the birth mother and if she didn't want to, it was her choice.  We understood that, but I really wanted to be close to her too.

I am fairly certain I was a pain in the rear end to the agency.  I pretty much talked to them daily.  I would always ask to have contact with birthmom.  They would chat with me but she still hadn't said yes.

By this point in the process, we had received our financial information.  We knew what our monthly payments would entail, for housing/living expenses for birth mom and for daily methadone.  We also understood there could be other expenses that came up, but we would have our info monthly.  At the birth there was a lump sum due.

So, we had our marching orders financially.  We had our detailed information as to what we needed to get done and we were waiting to hear from the agency as to whether birthmom would agree to meet us.

In June.....I finally got to meet her!  I was so excited, but OH, MY, GOODNESS!  I was so scared.  Again, what if she didn't like me?  I was meeting her alone for the first time and ugh, I am not the ideal mom.  What am I going to talk to her about?  What are we going to do?

So, I went & picked her up at her place.  She was ready for some food, so she asked if we could go to Golden Corral. we went.  We talked and talked and talked.  About everything and anything.  It was so comfortable.  It was natural.  It felt right.  We talked about baby "boy" and we talked about life.

It just seemed right.  We spent several hours together before ending our time.  I left feeling like this was it!  This was the perfect match.  We had found our baby.  We were having a baby boy in September!  Yay!!!!!

But....God reminded me....Be still Beth.  Be Still...and so, we waited....for more information.  We waited to know.....did she pick us?  Were we matched?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Eli's prayers

Elijah.....he prayed faithfully.  He taught me so much about faith.

April 2013.  I was having a day with my sweet friend Julie and we were getting pedicures.  I happened to check Facebook.  I was tagged in a post, by a sweet lady I have never physically met.  We became friends on Facebook because of adoption.  She & I share the same desires.  She tagged me in a post about a bi-racial little boy, due in September that needed a family.  WHAT?!  That would be a perfect fit!

So, I called the #.  I got a voice mail, but I left some message about the fact that we were interested in adopting this little boy & we already had a little boy and we would be a great family.  I was a mess.  ha!  Julie and I chatted and we were relaxing enjoying our day.  Then, my phone rang.  It was that number calling me back!  What?!

On the phone call, I received information and well, it was some financially information.  I wasn't sure it was going to happen.  But, Julie (who was pregnant by the way) and I just went to lunch and enjoyed the rest of our day.

That evening at home we read all the information, and it seemed hopeless.  But, God is able.  We talked to a couple members of our family and shared with them the information, which included the "match" fee of a fairly steep amount. Pretty sure this little one wasn't meant to be in our home.

The next day, I received a phone call from a family member.  They were willing to loan us the match fee.  What?!  EEEEEEKKKKKKKK.  So, we started the paperwork.

So, this adoption was all new to me.  We were working with an agency.  But, this information also had come from an adoption facilitator.

Adoption facilitator....this is someone who helps find a family for birthmoms.  They are also someone who sometimes work with adoption agency's to match families with birthmoms.  They have a fee too.

I was not familiar with this "facilitator" issue.  In some states they actually don't allow them.  So, we started the process for this little guy and signed paperwork.  It was Sunday.  I was confused by the paperwork.  I was not understanding why the cost was going to be different than what we were told.  I asked and the facilitator told me I needed to ask the agency.  So, I emailed the agency.  They normally weren't working on Sunday, but this day, happened to be.  She was appalled by the amount the facilitator was charging me and told me not to sign the paperwork.  Thank God she did.  It would have costs us an additional $12k for this route.  But, our agency, stopped us and come to find out, they had NEVER requested this facilitators help!!!!!

It was hard to sleep.  It was hard to do anything over the next few days.  On Monday, we wired the money to the agency and all we could do then was wait.


Waiting is what we did.  Be still....

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The continuing journey

Life.  Life had changed for us quite a bit since Eli joined our family.  In 2010, we  moved to TX.  I stopped working outside of the home and Dan started traveling for work. It was tough.  We missed being with him every evening, but Eli & I made the best of it. Eli started to pray nightly for 2 specific items.  Daddy to be home full time and a baby sister.  Yup, I laughed inside every night about the baby sister prayer.

One day while Eli was at preschool, I was shopping at Carter's on their clearance rack.  Eli was 4.  I found a size 6 shirt that was less than $1.  I picked it up.  The front of this shirt said....Big Brother.  Now, mind you, at this point, Dan & I hadn't really talked about more.  Well, we had, but it was definitely not on our agenda.  But, that weekend, Dan & I prayed over the shirt & put it in my dresser drawer.

Eli continued to pray.  Daily.  For a sister.  2013 came and life continued on as normal.  Dan & I occasionally would talk of more children, but really just felt like it was out of our reach.

But, remember how God had given me scriptures throughout the Elijah process? Well, again, I felt God reminding me...."Be Still...."

Be still and KNOW that I am GOD!  Oh, it t=is so breathtaking to remember this.

And so.....our journey was all in the hands of God and HE was amazing at taking care of us.

to be continued...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

World Adoption Day

Today.....November 15, 2016 is World Adoption DAY!

"Millions of families have been touched by adoption, in fact, 50% of the United States have a personal connection to adoption.  But, many of those stories go untold & uncelebrated.  That is why we have World Adoption Day!  So, why World Adoption Day?  Why is this so important?  The reality is that 80% of the prisoners in the United States have 1 thing in common...they've all been through our foster care system.  80% of women who are trafficked through this country, have all been through our foster care system.  At some point, in all of their lives, the family unit dissolved.  So, where preservation and reunification fail, ADOPTION is the answer.  Because family is the answer to almost everything.  Together, we can create a family for every child..."

This is taken directly from a video placed on Facebook by World Adoption Day organization.  IF you have Facebook....check it out....

If not, check out their website...

Truly, these statistics make me hurt.  Every child deserves a family.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Help Needed NOW.....

Let me introduce you to Steven and Katie Snyder and their son, Sam.

Here is some information from Katie. "We have wanted to build our family through adoption for as long as we can remember. About 3 years ago, we started the process. We were almost immediately matched with twin baby girls, due Sept 2014. This was our first failed adoption. Heartbroken, we moved on. We were matched with a baby girl due in February 2015 from a different agency. This birthmom promised not to break our hearts as we poured into her for the next months. Our lives changed forever at 11:30pm on October 20. We got a call that a birthmom with our original agency selected us. A baby boy expected in just 2 days!! We had our baby boy, Sam, in our arms by that Friday. Being near our February birthmom, we got to meet with her. She fell in love with our Sam (like everyone who meets him) and we came home with the anticipation of having our version of twins by February! So we thought. In January, we got a call that they baby was born and to head that way. We came home empty handed. She decided to parent. What we eventually found out was that we were caught in adoption fraud. Now, we are starting the process again, but without the money that was given to the twin's birthmom and our last birthmom."

Fast forward to now.....they have been contacted by Sammy's adoption agency & his birthmom is pregnant and wants to place with them!!!!!!!!!

This is amazing y'all! Here is the catch. THEY HAVE 24 HRS TO RAISE THEIR FUNDS. Please, with everything in me, I implore you to help. You see, I believe this has happened at the exact right time. Today, I get a verse of the day from the radio station, and that verse today is Jeremiah 29:11--"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you!"

Also, listen y'all, yesterday was orphan Sunday! Yesterday! I know a lot of churches give charge on Orphan Sunday to do your part and help. LISTEN UP......Here is YOUR chance! $5. $10. $100. $1000. Whatever you can give will help! Want to help the life of a child? Donate! T

This is the season of giving. This is the month of Thanksgiving. This is National Adoption Month. C'mon y'all.....Let's help this precious family out!

Join me. Share this fund. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE....give. Maybe instead of that extra gift you were going to buy for your child for Christmas....what if you use that money & help this child. What if you give up a weeks worth of fun purchased coffee. What if you packed your lunch this week instead of eating out. What if, you give $2 and share it and your friend gives $2 and they share and so on......Let's do this!

Thanks for reading & even possibly giving.  My heart will always bleed adoption!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

More of our Journey (#7)

The day we came home we went straight to my mom's house. Remember, on the way home from the hospital, we called lots of people.  So, when we got to my mom and dad's, I sat down on the floor to look at what all I snagged from the hospital and all our phones were ringing.

At this point, I was on my cell phone, Dan was on his cell and my mom was on the house phone.  It was crazy.  I sat down and asked my what do I do?  Remember, when I went to work this morning, I was not a mom.  I had 1 outfit.  Nothing else.  At this point in the evening, I had only slept for a few hours, had a super stressful morning and now I was a mom.  I was working off of adrenaline.  We were so happy.  

This is our very first family picture.  Taken in my mom's home that evening. 

Eventually, we did leave my mom & dad's and went to our home (which, we lived next door).  My sister showed up around 10 with her van and took my nieces and mom with her & went to Walmart.  My brother in law brought over their pack n' play (That thankfully they had kept) and we had our first visitor from the church that evening. Trudy brought gifts and love.  My sister, Alice, went crazy at the store, showing up at the house around 11:30ish with a van full of gifts.  Then she started telling me I needed to boil the bottles, etc.  I was glassed over.  Eli & Dan were asleep at this moment, but I was beat.  Alice, politely sent me to bed and told me she would wake me when Eli needed fed.  Well, I awoke the next morning to her sleeping on my couch and Eli fast asleep.  She stayed the whole night & took care of him.  

Saturday started the revolving door in our home.  The much welcomed revolving door.  1 of our rooms immediately turned into a crib.  My brother-in-law brought over a crib from his parents home. This crib was a blessing.  A friend from church brought over a changing table.  Throughout the next week we had a hundred or more people in and out of our home bringing gifts and food and lots of love.  We were so blessed.  We honestly didn't buy diapers for a long time.  It was amazing.  We were so blessed.  

Remember how Dan was to leave on Sunday for a week away at youth camp?  Yeah, well, after much thought and prayers, we decided he would stay home and we were able to enjoy a week together as a family.  Much bonding happened this week.  Because of my new job, I only was able to have 2 weeks off initially and then I was able to take another week off a few weeks later.  Dan, however, was blessed & he took paternity leave and stayed home with Eli for the first 6 weeks.  We were blessed.  

We continued the process of adoption.  We visited with Monique several times and kept communication open.  We had an attorney & since this was a private adoption, we also hired an attorney to specifically work with Monique.  It was a long process.  In the state of PA the birth mom has a certain length of time to change her mind once she signs paperwork.  We also had to find and serve the birth father with papers.  It took a while longer than we expected, we had lots of ups and downs.  It was a ride.  However, on March 25, 2008, we had our finalization hearing.  It was a super exciting day for our family.  We now celebrate that day as our "Gotcha Day!"  

This journey was amazing for us.  We are blessed to be Elijah's parents and we are thankful for the path.  

My mom told me after the adoption....she had been praying for God to drop a baby in our lap.  Well, that is exactly what happened.  God took care of this entire process.  He carried us all through.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Meet Monique

Let me introduce you to an amazing woman in our lives.  On June 22, 2007 our triangle (in the adoption symbol) completed.  You see, Elijah's birth mom, Monique (yes, I got her permission to do this) became a part of our family that day.  That day, she made a huge decision.  A decision that affected her life & ours.  A decision that was not made easily.  A decision of unconditional love.  A decision that was made putting herself last and her baby first.  For me, this was a humbling realization.  I admire her for her bravery and will forever share that bravery with my son.

This is Monique and I at the hospital that day when we arrived to pick up Eli.

This picture means the world to me.  It also is important to Eli.  His momma & Ms. Monique together.  2 women in his life who love him to the moon and back.  This picture, no matter how we appear, is love.

Monique and I keep in touch.  We have an open adoption and she is definitely part of our lives, even though we do not physically live near one another.  I asked Monique if she would like to share anything and here is what she had to say.

"This was the hardest thing I've ever done.  My heart and my mind were at war for those several days.  You guys (Dan & I) were the first and only family I mentioned adoption to and knew you were the right choice.  I thought seeing him in the beginning would help, but it made me feel very bad.  It had me thinking too much.  I just wanted to see him so that he knew without a doubt that I loved him.  I believe God made him be an emergency C-Section so that I would never forget him or you and Dan.  It is the only scar on my body that I love.  My cousin, and best friend, Vanessa, was with me every step of the way.  She helped me so much.  She was there to cut the cord and supported me the entire time."

For me--this is the heart of Monique.  She indeed had a tough decision.  We are thankful for the choice she made, but it didn't make that easier on her.  

Over the years, Monique and my relationship has grown.  We talk very freely and I love having her there to see us live life.  We are very open with Eli about her and we talk on a regular basis about her. Just yesterday, Nov. 11, was Moniques birthday.  Eli wanted to send her flowers from him.  So, we did.  Then we were able to FaceTime with Monique for a little.  It was a great moment.  I loved watching Eli's eyes as he chatted with her.  This is a love that will endure all time.  

So, Monique---she is a mom, she is a sister, she is a daughter, she is a friend and she is one of our birth moms(and she is much more)!  She has 3 precious children that she is a great mom of!  We are honored to have her in our lives. 

I will end this blog with this......birth mom's......they deserve your respect.  They do not give up a baby.  They place a baby in the arms of another mom.  They unconditionally love.  They never forget that birthday.  They always think of the child.  Regardless of whether the adoption is open or closed, they remember.  Birth Mother's Day is the Saturday before Mother's day every May.  I am able to celebrate Mother's Day because of the unselfish decision of a Birth Mom.  So, try to remember to honor them.  Whether you personally have one in your life or not.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Our Journey Part 6 cell phone rings...


Hi Beth, I've changed my mind, come pick up your baby.
What?!  Why?!
As hard as this is, I just had a long conversation with my Dr and I know right now I can't take care of him the way I want to. So, please come to the hospital as I am getting ready to be discharged.
Okay, well, I have to go home & get Dan & then we will be right there, ok?
When will you be discharged?
As soon as you get here.
Okay, I will be there as soon as possible.  Are you sure?
Yes, I am sure.  I named him Dylaun Markel.  Will you keep that name?
No, I don't think we will.
What will you name him them?
I don't know, I will have to talk to Dan.
We will be there as soon as we can, ok?
See you soon. Bye

This is how our conversation went.  I was frantic.  I ran to my friend & said, I just became a mom!  She was on the phone with Air France, and PUT THEM ON HOLD!

I went into my boss & said, could I take some time off?  I just became a mom!  He looked at me shocked.  Stood up and said, huh?  I asked him if I could have a couple weeks off & he said yes.  My friends were with me, I was frazzled.  They asked if I had called Dan.  I said no, they handed me the phone.  I called Dan, who was picking up the car from the dealership.  It was the fuel pump, so he was paying our $900 bill.  He answered the phone and I said, Hi Daddy!  He said, what did you say?! I replied, you heard me!  Cancel your fishing trip.  Meet me at home.  Take a shower & DO NOT TELL THE GIRLS!  (My nieces who were at my house waiting on me).  I said, I'm leaving work and I will be home so we can leave & go pick up our son.

I told my friends I didn't even know how to put a car seat in the car, my sister who lived close to me was currently on the road to take their camper to the youth camp location for a dear friend to sleep in for the week.  So, my friends agreed they would meet me at the hospital to help, plus they wanted to see my baby!!!!

I left work & headed out.  At this point it is a little after 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.  I knew I had to talk to the adoption social worker we had been working with to have our homestudy done for our VA Agency.  I called her, fairly certain I would get her voicemail, as I never got her on the first time.  BUT, she answered!!!!!  I told her what was happening and she told me she would contact a lawyer and call me back.

I made a few more phone calls on my way home to my sisters and my mom.  They were all thrilled!!!!!  I arrived home, told my nieces we had to go to the hospital to pick up our baby.  They both jumped up out of their chairs so excited!  They walked over to my mom's to await our arrival home.

Dan & I hopped in our car to head to the hospital, but first, we stopped at Target to buy a car seat.  Of course, remember, we had NOTHING in our home for our baby.  We had 1 baby BOY outfit that we trusted God to fill & HE had done JUST THAT!  But, I was already in mom mode.  I looked at the car seats, Dan is freaking out because he wanted to go!  I picked up a few other items and off we went.  In the Target parking lot, I received a call back from the social worker.  She had back door called her attorney that she worked with & he dictated an agreement to her, which she dictated to me.  It was basically an agreement between us & birth mom so that if anything happened over the weekend that we could seek medical attention.

You see, this was all rare.  I never got ahold of this lady on the first try & tonight I did.  She rarely got the attorney on the first time & tonight she did.  ON a FRIDAY evening of all nights.  A Summer evening.  It was ALL GOD!

By 6pm we were pulling into the hospital parking lot.  Our emotions were all over the place.  I was so nervous and excited at the same time.  I did not know what I was going to say.  I didn't know how to act.  I was scared.  What if she changed her mind?!  What if we got up there and she said never mind?  Again God reminded me......Be still!  It was as if He just gave me that final nudge, trust me.  I've got this!

Up to the nursery floor we went.  I went to the nurses station to tell them who I was there to see.  It seemed to take forever, but finally they buzzed us back.  We walked around and they took us to her room.  I was shaking!  I was a frantic mess.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

But then......I walked in the room and she placed my sweet baby boy in my arms.  We decided to name him Elijah Dylaun.  We loved the name Elijah and we kept Dylaun out of respect for his birth mom and we always wanted him to know he had a piece of her with him forever.

We had our baby boy.  He was in our arms.  Little did I know though.....this was only the beginning of this adoption journey.

I took every single thing that hospital would give me.  Formula, diapers, whatever they gave me.  We left the hospital with birth momma.  My friends were there now & they helped Dan make sure the seat was in well.  Meanwhile, I hugged birth mom and said we would be in touch soon.  I crawled in the back seat with my little man and we started home.

On the way there we called Dan's parents, his sister and called our church family.  It was all starting.  The weekend was changing right before our eyes and we were beyond thrilled.

Little Elijah Dylaun, 2 days old, was now in our arms.

---to be continued---

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Our Journey part 5

Off to work I went.  Crying the entire drive there.  I was tired.  I was overwhelmed.  I was crushed.  "God, why can't I be a mom?"  His answer resounded in my soul once again.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

It just rang through my body.  I was crying at work as I was starting my day.  My boss came by (mind you, he knew nothing of this potential baby) and he asked me if I was ok.  I told him all the car and air conditioner issues, but left out the baby.  My friends however, were open for me to chat with.  One of my friends at work had a family member who worked on the baby floor of the hospital.  She found out what room birth mom was in and told me I should call her just to check in and let her know I was there.  I knew in my heart that I was NOT supposed to call.  God kept shouting at my soul....

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Be still Beth....Be still.  So, I worked.  I kept busy.  I cried.  One of my nieces called me & asked if I wanted to have lunch.  Absolutely!  So, we went to have lunch.  On the way to lunch, I cried.  I screamed.  God reminded me....

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

After lunch, it was like something clicked in my heart and head.  I knew that I had a choice.  I could make this day great or I could choose to sulk the entire day.  I decided that I was going to have a great day.  So, I called my sister and asked if I could keep my nieces and we were going to have a girls night out! Since Dan was going to be fishing, we thought it would be fun to hang out & do girl things!!!!  So, plan was set.

I got back to work after lunch and was set for the night, but the nagging room # was in my head.  I called the hospital.  I asked for that room # and it was NOT the right person.  God reminded be....Be STILL!

Whew, I was completely done then.  I sucked it up.  I was on to finish my day and was getting ready things packed up & organized at 4:25pm when my cell phone rang.  I ran to the phone & it was my cousin.  I answered her question, hung up & I had missed a call from the hospital.  WHAT?!?!?!  AAAAAAHHHHHHH---I had NO way of knowing who called me from the hospital or what room #.  I looked at my cell phone almost WILLING it to ring again.  

4:28pm----it rang again...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Our Journey Part 4

After the wedding and weekend away for Father's Day weekend Jun 2007, we went back to PA to continue our normal life.  Mind you, at this point, we were "in the waiting pool" at Liberty Godparent Home/Family Life Services and we had lost contact with the birth mom for our potential private adoption.

Monday, June 18, we went back to work and life continued as normal.  I was feeling pretty weepy this week.  I couldn't understand why we were in this stand still.  I knew it could take a while, but this week in particular I was just feeling down.  I was determined I would never be a mom.

Tuesday was a normal day for us.  I really don't remember anything odd about the day.

Wednesday....June 20, 2007.  We had a normal day.  After work, we had dinner and continued on to church.  When we got home from church, Dan went to bed as he had to get up early & I decided to watch some tv.  Around 10 pm I received a phone call.  It was my family member telling me that birth momma had given birth, but it appeared as though she was going to keep her baby.  With all my might, I remember just stating that I understood, it was an extremely difficult decision and she had to be at peace with whichever way she decided to go.  We chatted for about 45 mins or so and after we hung up the phone I cried a bit, but then went to bed.

Thursday, I couldn't stop thinking about everything.  I couldn't figure out what was going to happen, but life had to continue, and that it did.  Thursdays were an extremely busy day for me at my job & I was thankful for that.  That evening Dan & I did some minor things around the house and he made plans to go fishing the next day with some friends.  He was also preparing to leave on Sunday for a week of youth camp, so we were just planning out our weekend and I was making a list of last minute supplies to purchase for him before he left.  Around 10:30pm, I received a phone call.  From birth grandmother.  We talked about the reality of it all & the fact that the decision was extremely difficult on birth mom.  I didn't completely understand, but I could only imagine how difficult it was.  We talked for quite a while and thankfully, I kept my composure while I was on the phone.  I had also learned that day that the potential adoption at the agency in VA we were working with was not going to happen.  So, I felt like I had just lost all hope.

I. Was. Broken.

I remember sitting in my chair crying out to God.  Not sure why this was happening and why I would never be a mom.  He kept reminding me these three things.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

I accepted these verses as they were going over & over & over in my head & heart.  I finally decided I should probably get some sleep & around 2 am I went to bed.

Dan had to leave for work super early in the morning.  So about 3:30am he woke me up to tell me his car wouldn't start and so he had to take my vehicle to work.  He asked me to call AAA and have them come tow the car to our local dealership to be fixed.

All I could do was cry.

5 am I was in the garage with a tow truck driver with puffy eyes and red cheeks.  The driver told me that the car sounded like it was the fuel pump that needed to be replaced.  I broke down again.  Meanwhile, I turned around and noticed our air conditioner was leaking.  I literally was hyperventilating.  I didn't know how much more I could handle.

By 6 am I was on the phone with my dad (who lived next door) asking him if I could borrow his truck to go to work that day.  I cried to him and told him all my problems.  You see, at this point, remember, we had given a non-refundable deposit to the agency, we had hopes of 2 different children to adopt (which at this point seemed minimal) and now, we had a broken down car and our air conditioner was broken, again.  Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching $$$.

BUT...All that was going through my head and heart was....

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 be continued...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Okay, so some of you may be thinking, ok Beth, I love these adoption blogs.  I love reading about this National Adoption month, but I'm not going to be adopting.  I am not in that position in my life, for whatever reason that may be.  So, can I do anything about adoption?  Can I help in any way?

Oh, I am so glad you asked!!!!!

So---here are some suggestions.  Watch.  Pray.  Listen.  Support.

Because adoption is costly, sometimes families that are adopting do fundraisers.  I happen to know of one going on right now!

Meet Jacob & Allison Forbes.  They are currently in the journey.  I do not know this lovely couple personally, however, adoption strings pull one another close.  So, I am including her blog and you can read their story.

Also....they are fund raising right now.  They are selling t-shirts that will help support their journey.
Will you join me & buy a shirt????  This will help them out & it is an adorable shirt!

There are 2 different shirts, but the script is the only difference.  

Don't want a t-shirt????  They are also selling Coffee!

No Coffee? How about decor?  Take a look at this fundraiser!!!!

Finally.....Not interested in any of the product, but would love to lend a hand, even if it is just $5?  You can share some love here....

Okay, so I am begging y'all.  Let's show this sweet couple some love.  This journey is tough.  It is hard on many levels and I know, I am asking you during a season of Holidays when money is often tight.  I get it. I do.  But, you will have an impact on the life of a child.  Will you be a part?