Her Heartbeat on Repeat

We heard baby girl’s heartbeat this week. Being nurses, we have heard a LOT of hearts beat over the years…But, oh what a joy that fast-paced “lub-dub” brought to our hearts! For those of you who do not know, we have been matched with a birth mom who is expecting a baby girl due April 6th! We are now in a new season of eagerly anticipating our little one’s arrival! The past several weeks have been filled with adding pink things to the nursery, attending a “baby basics” class, and counting down the days until she arrives. The app on my phone tells me that she is now the size of a Savoy Cabbage 😉 We are thanking the Lord for the blessing and joy of loving and anticipating this little life that we have yet to meet!

At this point you may be wondering…is this a 100% for-sure thing? Well, just like anything in life…the answer is no. The way it works in the State of Texas, the birth mom has to wait 48 hours after the baby is born to relinquish her rights. This is an irrevocable document. But, up until this point, she can technically change her mind. However, our birth mom does seem very at peace with the decision she has made for us to adopt her baby. She seems very confident and secure in her decision. She actually claims to be a believer, and says that she has been praying about this for several months.

The fact that it is not a “for sure” thing is not something that we live in fear of…but it is something that we just have to know in the back of our heads. We just have to trust the Lord and continue to live for Him one day at a time! And right now, it seems to be His plan that we adopt a little girl in April 🙂

But sure! There still is some level of uncertainty to the process. This is where I find SO much comfort in God’s Word. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:34:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Proverbs 16:9 also tells us:

“The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps”

Just as it would be if I was pregnant…nothing is ever for sure. We make plans, dream dreams, fill out our calendars…and then trust the Lord that whatever comes tomorrow He will be directing and guiding our steps!

“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

Our good, kind Heavenly Father has already ordained all of the days for the little life growing inside of our birth mom! Wow! How thankful I am for this truth. So…we are going to continue to prepare and anticipate and count down the days until she makes her grand entrance into this world. Knowing that our God knows what is best. We are so excited for the opportunity to adopt this baby girl.

The Lord really has given me so much peace in this season. It is so much fun to think about how this is not God’s plan B. This has always been His plan. If (Lord willing), we are indeed able to adopt this baby girl…this has always been what He had intended for us…He has always intended for her to be a part of our family.

This makes me think of Lamentations 3:22-23:

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

The Lord is SO faithful to us. And we trust that whatever comes He will give us the grace to handle it and live another day loving and trusting His perfect plan!

And for today that looks like ordering diapers on Amazon and listening to her heartbeat on repeat 🙂

 

Joyful in Him,

~Erin

 

***Photo credit to Hope Helms Photography 🙂

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Thoughts on 2017

 

So I realized something this afternoon. As I was sitting inside contemplating our lack of plans for New Years Eve and enjoying this lazy, frigid afternoon… I realized that it has been a year. One year ago today was when Joshua and I began to open our hearts and explore the idea of adoption again.

I was actually on call for the hospital last New Years Eve…and from what I remember we had a pretty uneventful day (Joshua was home, and I couldn’t go far in case they needed me to come into work). I think somewhere around 7pm we decided to order a pizza from Marcos…I remember it being cold and maybe rainy when we went to pick up our pizza. And I remember the pizza not being ready when we got there… So we walked hand & hand to the 7/11 next door and got sodas while we waited. And we talked. We talked about 2016 and the heartache we had felt when our embryos did not make it. We talked about the future and wondering what God had planned. We talked about adoption…how it was something that we wanted to pursue again. The time that we had not expected turned into a wonderful memory of hoping & dreaming about the future. That night I remember sitting down and sending emails to a couple of adoption agencies with questions!

A year ago today, we had never heard of Texas Christian Adoptions (the agency we decided to pursue our adoption through) and the wonderful staff there… We had never met the social worker that did our home study this year. We didn’t even know what kind of adoption we were going to pursue or how we were going to find the finances (especially after having just spent a good chunk on our embryo adoption).

It is crazy to think that a year has gone by since that day. It really doesn’t seem like that long ago… We really had no idea what our future held or what our adoption process would look like going forward. But I remember feeling a very established sense of peace and hope that night as I looked toward the future — God knew! His ways are often so very different than mine but they truly are better. ALWAYS better. I am so thankful that my life is secure in His Sovereign Hands.

So, what did 2017 hold for us?

  • Joshua was presented with a wonderful opportunity we hadn’t expected and switched career fields from a full time ICU RN to working as part time Pastoral Intern at our church (Countryside Bible Church) while working to obtain his Masters in Divinity through the Masters Seminary distance learning location at our church. (He is able to keep up his ICU RN skills by still working a couple days a month at the hospital!)
  • After much research and prayer we began our adoption process through Texas Christian Adoptions
  • Erin was able to transition to a part-time Day Surgery RN job in anticipation of the adoption!
  • We become officially OPEN to be matched with a child in mid-November. Now we continue to wait on God’s perfect timing!

And this is just a few of the big milestones. We also look back at 2017 and think of fun memories at the beach with the Linscombe family, days spent playing board games with the Scarboroughs, meeting our new little nephew Lee, Easter in Indiana with the Charltons, making pancakes on the kitchen floor on our Roots summer trip (well not the actual floor, but the griddle was sitting on the floor ;)), and many other wonderful days gone by spent with wonderful family and friends. Honestly, we wouldn’t have anticipated much of what happened in 2017…but God knew! It was no surprise to Him.

This makes me think of the sermon from this morning by our guest speaker Paul Twiss taken from Ecclesiastes 3… verse 11 says “He has made everything appropriate in its time….” We cannot control time or the timing of events in life. But God ORDAINS time. God DOES have control. He has not made a mistake or lost control…God’s timing is perfect. ALWAYS perfect.

These are the thoughts that fill my mind and heart as I look to 2018…

I am so thankful for God’s faithful hand through 2017 and can’t wait to see what He has planned for the future as we trust His perfect timing! We hope that 2018 will be the year that a new little one (or two) joins our family. But even if this is not God’s plan for 2018 He is still good and completely in control. I am thankful that we can trust Him!

We continue to be so grateful and overwhelmed by the kindness and support you all have shown towards us as we wait! We thank the Lord for each of you!

May 2018 be a year of growing to become more and more like our great God and Savior, Jesus! Every day He has given us is such a gift.

Joyful in Him,

~Erin

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

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