Growing Love

So, I realized something today. You know how when people are pregnant, it is common for them to post semi-weekly “bump” pictures with how the pregnancy is going?

 

Well, I am not pregnant, but it is very possible that the child the Lord has planned for our family could even now be growing inside his or her Birth Mothers womb. That tiny life could even now have a tiny heart that is already beating.

 

Although my stomach is not growing, I can already feel my heart swelling with love for this tiny life that I have yet to meet.  Since my “bump” is not growing visibly to people around me…I just wanted to take a moment to update you all personally on where we are!

 

Today, our adoption journey looks like:

 

  • A COMPLETED adoption application sitting on my counter, ready to be turned in (we are taking it to the post-office this afternoon!!). I can’t even tell you the relief I feel that all of that paperwork is completed. Praise the Lord for this!

 

  • Praying daily, even hourly for this new little life (that may be conceived already, or may be “soon-to-be” conceived. The Lord knows all the details. “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16)

 

  • Preparing for our home study. Lord willing, we complete our home study in mid-late October!

 

  • Allowing “Fund-raising” mode to be in full swing. The Lord has already been so kind in how He has orchestrated so many of the financial details. We are hoping to be “open to adopt” within the next couple months, but we do still have money to save. I am planning to have an “adoption fundraiser garage sale” within the next couple weeks.

 

  • Continuing to trust in the Lords Faithfulness and Sovereign plan for our lives. After we are “open to adopt”, the waiting period could be anywhere from a couple months to a couple years before we are “matched” with a Birth Mother. Although our agency seems to think that the waiting time should be towards the shorter end. Joshua and I are open to twins/a sibling group/a child of a different race should there be a need…we just would love to welcome a child into our home that needs a home and a family! We have lots of love to give. The time that we wait will be a surprise to us, but not to the Lord!

 

So, if you see me (or Joshua)… feel free to ask for a current “picture” of my “bump”. We want you guys to share in the joys and trials of this process with us if you want to. And feel free to share this post/my blog if you think it would be helpful or encourage someone that is in a similar place.

 

We would love your prayers for our adoption journey! We are always happy to talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives as we strive to live each day for His glory!

 

Joyfully,

Erin

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Transitions and the Goodness of God

If you asked either Joshua or I to give one word to describe our life right now, I think we would both agree on the word: TRANSITION. We are entering into a lot of new seasons this fall, and with these changes and transitions there are oh-so-many ways that we are reminded of God’s continued goodness and faithfulness in our lives! Details on the 2 big transitions below!

 

NEW JOB – – – – – – – – –
The first transition is a new job for Joshua! Earlier this summer he was approached about an opportunity to work part-time at our church (Countryside Bible Church) and attend full-time seminary classes through a distance learning location of the Masters Seminary that is based out of our church. Although Joshua has been an RN for several years now he has always had the desire to go into full-time ministry at the church (This was a desire of his from even before we met!). Because Seminary is rather expensive, we thought that this dream would likely still be several years in the future.  It has been such a joy to see God’s good provision for us in this new opportunity! This opportunity was not a surprise to God, but it sure was to us! Joshua will also continue to work part-time at the hospital to keep up his RN skills (and make some extra money too ;)). I am continuing to work full-time at Medical City Lewisville as an RN in Day Surgery/PACU. I am currently working 4 days/10hour shifts ~ it is so nice that this is an option vs the traditional 12 hr RN shifts!

We would love your prayers for continued unity and good communication for Joshua and I as we adjust to new hours with work, and school schedule, and ministry.

 

BABY STEPS FORWARD TOWARD ADOPTION – – – – – – – – –

 

After much prayer, time, and research we have decided to pursue Domestic Infant Adoption through a local agency called Texas Christian Adoptions. Honestly, this was kind of a long and wearing process to make this decision—there are SO MANY different agencies out there. But, the Lord continues to be faithful and kind as we trust Him through this process.  Both Joshua and I just really appreciated the values that this agency stands for, the expectations for interaction between the birth mom/adoptive family that this agency expects, and the level of expertise and professionalism that the leadership of the agency exudes. We are thankful for unity in this decision and are excited to move forward!

 

We actually submitted the first part of our Adoption Application today!!!! We still have LOADS of paperwork to sift through, but every little step is progress!

 

We are currently in the saving money/fundraising phase of the adoption process and will stay there as long as needed as we continue to work on paperwork and trust the Lord with His perfect timing in growing our family!

 

This verse comes to mind as we thank the Lord for His continued goodness and faithfulness to us through all seasons of life:

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)

I’lll do my best to keep you all updated as we continue to move forward with this process. And as always, feel free to send me a message or ask if you have questions about where we are, or Jesus, or life in general! 🙂

 

Joyful in Him,

~Erin

 

P.S. The picture is from a hike we went on this summer up in Turner Falls, OK! Special Memories together 🙂

 

Hope for the Future

So, lets be honest here for a minute. Life isn’t always easy. In fact, most days…life is hard.

I don’t say this to be depressing, but just to be real!

However, something that God has been teaching me over the past couple of years is that even in the midst of the REALLY HARD, God is still ALWAYS GOOD.

As believers, we can have hope for the future even in the midst of hard days because we serve a God who is still Faithful and Sovereign. We can have hope for the future because this is NOT our home. We can have joy in the here and now because we are redeemed and loved by Christ. We can rejoice with every new day because the Lord’s mercies are new every morning, and God gave us another day to serve and love Him here on this earth!

And as believers, we will someday get to be with our Lord Jesus FOREVER!

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

As believers, that knowledge in and of itself should be enough for us to live joy-filled lives here on earth. And, it is such a comfort in the hard times.

If you have been following our infertility journey at all, you know that we have had some hard times over the past 3 years. October 2016 brought another “trial” when our last two embryos that we had adopted went to be with the Lord. I can’t even begin to describe the sadness that Joshua and I felt over this loss… we had really hoped to be able to hold our little ones here on this earth.

However, even in the midst of this sadness we were so thankful for the reminder of what I mentioned above… This is NOT our home. This earth is not where we find our hope, contentment, or peace. And even on the very hard, and very sad days we can trust our God who is still the same loving, trust-worthy, sovereign God that we served yesterday and will serve tomorrow.

I have honestly been over-whelmed by the peace and contentment that God has given to me in this new year. Obviously, there are still moments of sadness mixed in, but the Lord has been so very kind to give me joy and contentment with where He has us now.

We still desire to have children. We still plan to pursue another adoption process of some sort in the future. But, as we live where God has us now (and save money ;)), we can trust Him, and we can be comforted by the thought of spending eternity with our Lord someday in our forever HOME.

Stay tuned for more info on our adoption journey! We are just in the beginning stages right now of researching/planning our next steps… knowing that “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

As always, I am an open book so if you ever have questions or want to talk about embryo adoption, Jesus, or just life in general feel free to let me know 🙂

Joyful in Him,

~Erin

Faithful in the Hard Times

I have been contemplating this post for a while now.

It has been quite some time since I have given a update on our embryo adoption journey, and so I wanted to give a update and share what has been going on in our lives for the past couple months.

Short Answer:

We implanted 2 embryos back in December and I miscarried a couple weeks later. It was hard. God is Faithful.

Long Answer:

We adopted 6 precious embryos back in November of 2015 (see prior posts or talk to me for more info on this process). Around that time I started taking hormones to prepare my body for the embryos. Essentially, the goal was to get my body to think it was pregnant before I actually was.

To start the process…I was on a variety of hormones for about 6 weeks: everything from pills, to big shots, to little shots, to transdermal patches. I had a variety of symptoms from the hormones: nausea, rashes, fatigue. During this time, my doctor was watching me very closely. I went in several times for lab work and ultrasounds.

At the end of these 6 weeks, the fertility clinic where our embryos are kept thawed 4 out of our 6 embryos. We chose to thaw 4 because of the way that the embryos were frozen together. Our doctor really wanted us to thaw all 6 at once, and then just re-freeze some of them if we needed to. We felt as though it would not be wise to thaw more embryos than we needed to at a time because some research says that re-freezing the embryos decreases their viability (this is what our adoption agency believes). We really had to think and pray a lot about this decision though!

After they thaw the embryos, they watched them for 24 hours to make sure that they “woke up” (the cells are alive). If there is any sign of life at all, the embryos are considered to have “woken up”. At this point, we were informed that 2 of the 4 embryos had “woken up,” and two had died during the freezing process. This was obviously hard, but we were thankful that 2 of them were still doing well!

My husband was kind to remind me of Psalm 139:16 during this time…

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

How comforting it is to realize that God knew/knows our embryos!

The next day we went into the fertility clinic for the implant. I changed into a gown/hat and everything, just like a real procedure! However, it was nice because I could eat and drink the morning of the implant. In fact, they WANTED me to drink a whole bottle of water when I got to the clinic because it is helpful to have a full bladder for the procedure. Joshua got to go in with me for the procedure, which was such a blessing! I was very thankful to have him by my side holding my hand. The procedure itself was relatively painless (besides having a full bladder, haha). Everyone was all garbed up in surgical attire & I just had to stay REALLY still. The procedure itself took a whole 6 minutes.

After the procedure, they wheeled me back into my hospital room, and I had to lay flat for 30 minutes. There were so many emotions going on in my head at this point! It was crazy to lay there and realize that I now had 2 little lives growing inside me. Before the implant, when they had looked at the little embryos under the microscope, the embryologist told us that the embryos were growing at a “normal, or slightly below normal” rate. Our doctor was hopeful that at least one of the embryos would go on to produce a viable pregnancy. We were praying that both would!

After laying flat for those 30 minutes, they sent me home on bedrest for the next 24 hours. Joshua stopped to get me Chick-Fil-A on the way home, which made everything better.

The next 2 weeks I was restricted to “limited activity” (I wasn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than 15lbs, and I couldn’t work out at all). During this time I continued the hefty hormone regimen that I had been on.

I began to feel more and more pregnant. I woke up many mornings feeling sick/nauesous. We considered this to be a good sign, but it was hard to know if I was sick from the hormones, or because I was pregnant.

At the end of the 2 weeks, we went in for a pregnancy test. They drew my blood, and then sent me home! The nurse wished me luck, and said they would call me later with the results.

That was a tough day… It was hard to wait! But I kept telling myself that whatever the result of the pregnancy test, we served a faithful, trustworthy, and sovereign God.

The nurse called around 4pm to let me know that the test was negative. I was not pregnant.

Honest moment here: the news hit me a lot harder than I thought it would… I was very sad. I just cried for a long time. I still knew the reality that I served a God who is always Faithful, but it was still sad.

I knew that there was a very real possibility of this process NOT ending in a viable pregnancy. But knowing that fact in my head did not really prepare me for all of the emotions and heartache. It was just a very sad time. I had FELT pregnant, and I knew that the embryos were there. So, even though they were so very small…it was still very much a loss. A loss of a dream, a loss of life!

So much comfort was found during this time from Gods Word.

As I mentioned above, Psalm 139 was SO helpful. Realizing that God knew our embryos and that they were now with Him in heaven was such a comforting truth.

I also love Psalm 62:1-2

“My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

I would lay in bed at night sometimes after the miscarriage and just mediate on the truth of this verse…God is my Rock. My Stronghold. I find rest & comfort & peace in Him. Even when my world is “shaken” with sad news and does not go the way I plan I can find my rest and hope in my Faithful God.

I STILL think about these truths often and they give me hope on days when its a little darker.

God has been so kind to really provide a lot of healing for my grieving heart through His Word and through sweet, godly friends and family that has been there to grieve with us, remind us of God’s truth, and love on us.

Over these past couple mounts, I have really had to come to grips with the fact that I may never have children of my own in this life. Obviously, this is something that I would desire – strive towards – hope for. I am not by any means giving up! However, this is not a promise that God has given to me. And if God never blesses me with children, He is STILL Good. STILL Faithful. STILL Sovereign. And I will be okay.

The Lord has been very kind to heal my heart much quicker than I could have imagined. I do still have hard days…it is not always easy (I still have teary days sometimes!) But I am confident of the fact that God is good.

I share all this information with you, not to make you feel sorry for me, but rather in hopes that this story will point to my Faithful God and bring Him glory!

If infertility is something that you struggle with/have struggled with at any point I hope this proves to be an encouragement to you!

Please feel free to ask me anything!

 

What does the future look like for us, you may ask?

Well… 🙂 We do plan to have me start on hormones again in the next couple of months. Joshua and I are both kinda just ready to know if the next implant will work or not (obviously we are praying to that extent!) & to be able to move forward with our lives in one way or the other.

We would love your prayers for our hearts and for our 2 embryos that are left!

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of my heart & my journey…

~Erin

Learning to Trust and Wait

Just wanted to take a few minutes to update everyone on our Snowflake Adoption process!

I think most of you know (or you know now :)) that we were matched with a genetic family with 6 embryos in September. It is a closed adoption, so that is about all I can tell you all…but Joshua and I are super excited! The past couple of months have been full with lots of paperwork and lots of waiting.

The Lord has been teaching me so much about learning to WAIT on the Lord and TRUST the Lord over this past year. I am so thankful that I serve a God who is sovereign over everything…every detail. The timing does not surprise Him, but rather He is the one in control of the timing and HE has the perfect plan that is best. He gets all of the glory for every good thing that happens because, well… He deserves it!

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” 

(James 1:17)

Okay, back to my update! 😉

We received news this week that the embryos are going to be shipped
(they literally just overnight ship them…still amazed at this whole process and modern technology! haha) this week, and will arrive tomorrow. TOMORROW, y’all! 🙂

Now, granted…we still have a long process to go, but Joshua and I are so thankful to the Lord that our little snowflakes will soon be *home* in DFW.

In many ways, this is the end of a process:

  • our adoption is essentially finalized
  • 6 little precious embryos will soon be home in DFW

And in many ways, this is the beginning of a process… One where I will learn a lot more about trusting and waiting on the Lord for sure!

So, what does happen now?

Well…let me get you up to speed 😉 Over the next several months, I will have lots of Dr appointments, lots of labs drawn, and lots of medications (hormones) to take. Essentially, the Dr will be trying to make my body think that it is pregnant before I actually am. All of this is done so that my body will be as prepared as possible for implanting the embryos (YES, embryos…we will have the doctor implant two! This is what they recommend, and we would welcome twins if this is in the Lord’s plan :)).

Now, just to be blunt here…just as with anytime someone is trying to get pregnant, there are a LOT of unknowns here. (Sidenote: unknowns are hard for me! I have always done better with things being planned… So, again… I am thankful to serve a God who is sovereign over the unknowns too!) We hope and pray that every single one of the embryos will survive the thawing process, will implant exactly on schedule, and will grow  to become heathy little babies!

However, there is a chance, maybe even a good chance, that it may not work.

This really is a “Rescue Mission” of sorts…

Joshua and I would ask for your continued prayers for us and for our little snowflakes over the next several months as we enter into the next phase of our Rescue Mission!

We would also ask for privacy as we wait on the Lord’s perfect timing for building our family. This is an exciting time, but also has the potential to be very hard. We want the LORD to be honored no matter the outcome, and we promise that we will update you as soon as there is any big news!

I also just want to say thank you to all of you who have been so supportive through this process!! We have felt so loved and surrounded by the body of Christ.

Okay, well… that’s all for now!

I think I will dream of snowflakes tonight… they should arrive tomorrow 🙂
~Erin

Cease Striving

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Whew! These past couple of months have been quite the whirlwind for Joshua and I in the adoption process!
Below is my attempt at bringing you all up to date. 🙂
We had our home study for embryo adoption at the end of May. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, so I was a little nervous going into it… but, it went really well! The process was actually very helpful for Joshua and I to go through. It made us talk through things that normally would have probably just remained unsaid. We even went out and bought cabinet locks & outlet covers!
After we completed our home study, we “thought” that we were mostly done with the paperwork, a.k.a. the “hard” part of process.
Boy, were we wrong.
It seemed like every day we received a new piece of paperwork from our agency to sign… or we learned of a new “hoop” that needed to be jumped through.
Honestly, it all was beginning to feel a little overwhelming.
During this time, the Lord had been kind to bring a verse to my mind through a ladies bible study that I was doing this summer:
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold…”
Psalm 46: 10-11
It was the first part of that verse that especially stood out to me… “Cease STRIVING.”
I had to come to grips with the fact that nothing I did or could do was going to make my life any better/easier.
The fact of the matter is that my life was (and is) in the hands of my loving Heavenly Father.
And He is the Lord of ALL creation. My Stronghold. My Savior.
So, honestly… I had no business feeling overwhelmed, because my life was still safely in His hands.
I am so thankful for the promises of God that He has given to us in His word. Everything that we need to serve Him well is truly right at our fingertips…
SO, back to my update.
I do believe that all of the paperwork is now done! 
(at least for now :)).
We are just waiting for the final e-mail saying that we are “OPEN” to adopt!!!!!!
(When that happens, I will be sure to let you all know! It should be any day…)
And then… we get to wait 🙂
Lord willing, Joshua and I are so excited to be parents!! I am thankful that God already knows exactly what our family looks like & the timing in which that will take place.
The Lord is teaching me so much through this process, and 
I am excited to see what other lessons are ahead as we continue down this road…
As usual, feel free to message me if you have any questions!
Thanks for listening 🙂
~Erin

The Worst Sound I’ve Ever Heard

This is Joshua, by the way.  Sorry to disappoint you all.  You are free to stop reading now if you like, I won’t be offended.

I just thought it might be a good idea to share a little bit of my mind and heart over the past few months.

To help illustrate this, I’d like to tell you about something that happened yesterday at work.

Work.  Let’s start there.  I work as a critical care nurse in a hospital here in town.  Critical care means that the people I care for are either very sick or potentially very sick.  Not always, but often, a good portion of my job involves watching someone hurt, watching someone cry, watching someone die.  To be very honest, some days it is a remarkably depressing place to be.

But every now and then…

When a baby is born upstairs at the hospital, a little jingle plays over the intercom.  Just a few seconds of nursery rhyme type music.  There is no big parade or grand announcement.  Just a few moments of soft, sweet music.  It’s a subtle reminder.  A reminder that the hospital doesn’t always have to be about sickness and pain, about darkness and death.  A reminder that there is joy in this life.

When I got my official diagnosis of infertitlity from my doctor a few months ago, there were things I was prepared for, and things I wasn’t.  I was prepared to cry in front of my family, to have hard conversations with friends and coworkers.  I was even prepared to listen patiently and compassionately when someone would unintentionally say something hurtful.

What I wasn’t prepared for happened about a week after my diagnosis.  That nursery rhyme.  I was in the middle of a work day, scurrying around the hospital doing who knows what with my mind finally on something different.  Then the jingle played over the intercom, and I stopped dead in my tracks.  It was the worst sound I’ve ever heard.  All of the emotions and questions came flooding back, and I tried to hide the tears while I thought, “That music will never play for us.”

Over the next few weeks and months, the music became less and less offensive, and I became relatively indifferent to it.

That was all introduction.  Now to the real story, yesterday.  To make a long story short, the nursery rhyme played again.

Actually, that’s the whole story.  I was at work, and I heard the music play because someone had a baby.

What was different yesterday was not what happened around me, but what happened inside of me.  The jingle wasn’t just a work sound this time, and it wasn’t the worst sound I’d ever heard.  It was a sound of hope.

Most of you know that Erin and I have decided to pursue embryo adoption.  We hope to adopt a child (a very tiny child) pre-birth and allow Erin to carry and deliver our child.  We may not be successful, but we have an opportunity that we had not planned on.

When I heard the nursery rhyme play yesterday, it was not subtle.  It was the most obvious showing of God’s power.  I was reminded that God is always in control, and He always has a plan.  Months ago when I heard it play, there was not a single thought in my mind that God could fix my problem.  But He did.  He did not change my body, but He changed my understanding.  He changed how I thought of Him, how I thought of life, and how I thought of His plan for mine.

I hope this in encouraging to you all.  I hope that if you are in the midst of an irreversible problem, that you will be reminded that even if that problem never goes away, God will not either, and He can give joy and comfort in any circumstance.

Sometimes, a hospital is a terrible place.  Sometimes it is a place of darkness and death.  But sometimes God’s truth shines bright in dark places.

Sometimes the incredible power and amazing love of our God sounds like…well, it sounds like a nursery rhyme.