Miracles DO Happen! Part #3

Once we finally felt comfortable picking a name for him, my husband suggested Asher which was also one of my favorites even though we had never talked about it and it just felt perfect. Asher is from Genesis and is the name of one of the son’s of Jacob and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel and means “happy, blessed” in Hebrew because that is how his parents felt when he was born.  What name could be better for this unexpected blessing?!  We decided to keep the name Michelle had given him as his middle name to honor her so his name is Asher Ryder De Lucio.  Plus it starts with an “A” just like both of our names so he fits right into our little A-Team.  This whole time no one in our family knew what was going on because I didn’t want to disappoint them if it didn’t work out for any reason but part of me also wanted to surprise them.  So then we got to have a little fun and did facetime with each of them while videotaping their reactions.  We would start with just showing our faces and then say “we have a little surprise for you!” and then pan down to Asher in my arms and say “we want to introduce you to your grandson/great-grandson/nephew!” and their reaction were absolutely priceless.  We could hear the nurses outside the room listening and giggling, they just loved our story and would spend hours in our room just chatting and would say that we were the reason they came to work that day.  They were so happy for us, even before I had let my heart believe it, they cried and celebrated with us.

Because I was a nurse and was willing to continue weaning him off the drugs at home, they let us take him home after only 5 days. This was a miracle considering that most drug exposed babies stay for weeks but I think it helped that he was constantly held in the NICU and only left alone when the nurses kicked me out to get some rest or eat and of course the many months of prayer for this little boy’s protection made all the difference.  Those first few weeks at home were very hard for me, between the lack of sleep, the weaning on methadone with withdrawal symptoms and the fear that something bad was going to happen was overwhelming.  But God knew that I would struggle and I am so grateful for the people He placed in our lives to help calm my fears during that time- my best friend from childhood is a NICU nurse in Canada and I could send her questions and she would reassure me that he would be ok and that she had seen many babies that were doing much worse (thank you Dana!).  And Dr Rosin who I had met in a Facebook group became his pediatrician and was so helpful with all my first-time-mom questions and anxiety (thank you Melissa!).

For more info on Dr Melissa Rosin click HERE

Photo credit Lovejoy Photography

It took 4-5 tough weeks of weaning him at home to get him completely off the drugs and each day was a new adventure during that time, I just never knew if it would be a good day or a bad one. Everyone says time flies by but I lived that first month as a zombie in survival mode and I blinked and he was a month old.  I had missed out on the joy that should have come with finally being a mom because satan had completely taken over my thoughts and filled my mind with fear.

Now he’s 9 weeks old and as I write this he’s sleeping on my chest. He has almost doubled his birth weight and I know it won’t be long before he’s too big for that so I’m trying to enjoy every moment.  He’s just started smiling and learns something new almost every day.  I am so very grateful that God chose us, that we said yes to His plan and that I get to love this precious little boy every day.  God has transformed our hearts in a way that is hard to describe but I’m excited for the future of our family, I know that God isn’t done yet…not with Asher’s amazing story or with growing our family.  We are ready and open to what God’s plan for us is…bring it on!

Photo credit Smetona Photo

Thank you for reading our adoption story.  If God has changed your heart through our journey I would love to hear from you, please leave me a comment!

God Bless You

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

Romans 8:15

Click here to read Part #1

Click here to read Part #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Miracles DO Happen! Part #2

E9817C3B-40CF-42AA-9420-BBE6D63788BCThe next morning was chaotic between calls with my husband and the various lawyers, all while trying to get to work, but God made a way. He spoke to the hearts of all of us in various ways, through the lawyers, scripture, coworkers and each other.

It took 3 hrs of debating and discussion and fighting against fear with truth and scripture before my husband agreed that we should say yes to this little boy. I knew that I couldn’t say no and live with the knowledge that he had gone into foster care and we would return home empty-handed once again.  It had only been 24 hrs since we had first found out that he was born and we were not ready or prepared, we didn’t have diapers or formula, I didn’t have maternity leave figured out, we didn’t have this as part of our plan, we didn’t have the money saved to pay for the adoption and satan used all those things to instill fear and doubt in us.  The most confusing part for us both was that we were praying and listening and waiting for direction from God and neither of us heard or felt anything…nothing by crickets, it didn’t feel like this was our baby or not our baby and that left us both feeling very unsure about our decision, my assumption was that we would just KNOW.  I quickly realized that God was presenting to us a new challenge, He was saying “I am answering your many prayers, just not the way you thought, so the choice is yours…do you trust that my plan is better than yours? Do you trust that I will provide, equip and that I have specifically chosen you? Can you take a step of faith into the unknown and just trust me?”

That is the greatest lesson God has taught me through this, is to just be open to what He might do and the way He may answer your prayers. Don’t hold on so tightly to your “plans” or how you think things should play out because God’s plan will almost always be different and SO much better.  Going through infertility you endure lots and lots of waiting and we tend to imagine and plan and dream during that time, we’ve usually planned out our whole pregnancy and delivery before ever getting pregnant! It’s so hard not to, but at the same time so silly, especially in retrospect.  Does it matter how God answers our prayers?! Whether it be through a surprise pregnancy, adoption, fostering, nieces or nephews, students or mentoring children? Just relax into the knowledge that God gave you the desires of your heart and He will fulfill them in His own way and time…annoying to hear in the midst of the struggle right?! Yup, I get it but my dear friend, it’s actually true!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.-Jeremiah 29:11


As soon as we said yes to the adoption I was at the hospital because our little guy had been transferred to the NICU because of withdrawal symptoms. For the first couple days Michelle and I were there together and took shifts so that the baby had someone there will him as much as possible.  We got to meet with the NICU doctors together and ask our questions about his care and spend some time together.  Those days were special, I wanted her to spend as much time with him as she needed, he was still her son and she was making a painful decision and I knew that she would need the time, space and closure to heal.  Even though our little man was having symptoms of withdrawal, like tremors and vomiting and I lived those first weeks in a state of worry and anxiety about his health, God had given me such a heart of love for Michelle.  I know many would judge her for her addiction and actions while pregnant, but I only saw her beautiful heart, her love for the Lord and how God would redeem her story into something beautiful.  We still want so badly for her to find sobriety and we pray for that every day.  We want our son to know her and for her to be a part of his life so we would be so grateful if you would join us in prayer for her.

We found out about him Monday morning and by Wednesday we had all signed the adoption agreement and for the first time we were able to let our hearts believe that maybe, just maybe this was our son and we would actually get to take him home. The years of disappointment and losses made it hard for me to accept that this could actually be happening, I had never gotten to keep a baby before, they had all gone to heaven and my heart kept saying “why would we get to keep this one?”.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our story! To be continued…..

Click here to read Part 1

Miracles DO Happen! Part 1

It has been 9 weeks and I haven’t posted anything about our big miracle yet and I’m so sorry for that!  Our life has changed so much and so suddenly that everything else has been put on the back-burner but God deserves all the glory so I need to share what He has done and the lessons He has taught me.

I warn you that this story is long so I will be posting it in 3 parts so it’s not too overwhelming. I will also be adding links to the places and people I mention in the story in case you are looking for more information.

If you are one of my infertility sisters and you start reading this and get discouraged that another person’s prayers have been answered and yours hasn’t (as I often did), take heart my friend and keep reading, there is hope and messages from God in my story just for you!

Miracles DO Happen! Part 1

This is by far the hardest post I’ve ever written. Not because I don’t love this story or the way our prayers were answered but because I’m terrified that I won’t do it justice.  It feels like an intricate tapestry where the side that faces the world looks perfect and beautiful but on the other side those of us involved see all the threads connecting to each other and it looks messy and complicated.  I’m afraid that I’ll miss even one of those threads that God has woven and not fully be able to show the glory of His handiwork to the world.  Of course the reality is that I won’t really get to see all the threads that were beyond my comprehension or understanding until I reach heaven anyway, but I still remain in awe of what He has done.

As I’ve shared previously, we’ve always felt called to adopt but it was never clear how that would manifest itself in our lives. First we became licensed foster parents through the county, then we adopted 6 precious embryos that we hope will help grow our family in the future and along the way there have been a few opportunities for domestic infant adoption that didn’t work out in the end. But God had other plans and a woman named Michelle came into one of our Obria clinics to see one of our nurses for a pregnancy test and ultrasound.  Michelle was homeless and had been struggling with drug addiction for the past 10 years but she believed that God wanted more for her child and told us she wanted to make an adoption plan.  So we referred her to Sheryl Youmans at Family Building, the Law Office of Ted R. Youmans, and they spent some time with her and tried to match her with potential adoptive couples.  Because of her circumstances no adoption match was made, and then Michelle fell out of contact with Family Building and her lawyer’s office so Michelle had no adoption plan before she delivered her son.  Our clinic was providing her prenatal care and it was no accident that Dr Anzaldo, our OB/Gyn had adopted his daughter as well and understood the beauty of adoption.  Because of this he was able to provide her with the non-judgmental and compassionate care that she needed.  God placed Michelle in our clinic because He knew she would find unconditional love and acceptance there, who knows what would have happened if she had gone somewhere else? God loved her too much to let that happen!

Click Here To Visit (where I work!)

Click Here To Visit

I had known about her pregnancy from that first visit to our clinic and even though I didn’t know how it would all turn out, I felt strongly that this child needed a loving home. I told my husband about the situation and we started praying. We prayed for the right forever family for this little boy, for his safety and for God to protect him from all harm.  We had referred Michelle to the adoption lawyers about 6 months into her pregnancy and they contacted us to ask if we would be interested in matching with her but at the time I had felt like God was asking us to wait, so we did. I truly wanted to be obedient to His plan and not just say yes because I wanted it.  Michelle’s situation was complicated and the effect of her drug use on the baby was unknown so there was a lot to consider for whoever said yes and I knew it would take special parents to step into this situation.

Every time Michelle came into the clinic for an appt I would inquire about her and the baby and it would remind me to keep praying for his safety. I was encouraged to introduce myself at one of her appointments but it just didn’t feel right at the time so I kept my distance. It wasn’t until the day after I got home from my trip to Canada that I went back to work and heard from our OB/Gyn that Michelle had delivered her baby over the weekend.  He shared that they were both doing well but the baby had tested positive for drugs and that Child Protective Services (CPS) would be getting involved.  I couldn’t accept the idea that after following her pregnancy and praying for her and the baby for 3 months, that this precious little boy would go into foster care.  So I called Sheryl Youmans at Family Building again and she said “this child was predestined for you”!  They immediately jumped into action and reached out to Michelle’s lawyer and the hospital to figure out a plan so CPS would not get involved and take the child into foster care.  I quickly called my husband to let him know what was happening and that this didn’t mean we were adopting him but that we should both be praying for God’s will in this situation and for the best family for this little boy.  Later that day Sheryl told us that Michelle’s lawyer was going to the hospital to meet with her and would be showing our profile but there was another family that Michelle had in mind and that there was maybe a 20% chance that we would have to go to the hospital that night to meet with her.  Well 9:30 pm rolled around and I assumed it wasn’t going to happen and we were about to get ready for bed when Sheryl called and said we needed to go to the hospital right away to meet Michelle.  We were both kind of in shock and anxious.  Was this God’s plan? Were we supposed to be his parents? There were a million thoughts going through our heads on the 30 minute drive to the hospital and lots of emotions.  With little warning and preparation my husband was completely overwhelmed but I encouraged him to just be open to what God would do and see how he felt after our visit to the hospital.

We spent the next 3 hours with Michelle, her boyfriend, her wonderful “spiritual-mom” Sandra and her lawyer getting to know each other and deciding if this would be a good fit for everyone involved. It was surreal to introduce myself to Michelle for the first time and tell her that she didn’t know me, but that I worked with Dr Anzaldo and I knew her and had been praying for her and her son for months and following her pregnancy.  Who can bring a story like this so full circle except God?!

We got to hold her son that night and of course he was perfect and beautiful but it wasn’t really about the baby at that point, it was about Michelle and the big decisions she would have to make for her son. The lawyers advised us that to get CPS to drop the case we would all have to decide by 8 am…7 hours from then.  No pressure right?! Of course I didn’t sleep much that night with all the possible outcomes going through my head and praying continually for God to guide our decisions.

(Meeting Asher for the first time at 24 hrs old)

Stay tuned for part 2 of our story! To be continued…..

Hope Renewed

I’m at home in Canada right now because my grandma has been sick and I wanted to be there to care for her and spend time with her while she is still with us. She has dementia and progressive aphasia so every time I see her she has a harder time finding her words.  We spend most of our time trying to guess at what she wants to say while watching her struggle just to express herself.  Something we all take for granted.

It reminds me of how precious this time is with her. Soon she may not be able to communicate at all and all of the stories and memories she used to share with us will only be in our memories.  The blessing is that she still remembers us and I’m so grateful that.  No matter what memories have been lost, I am still her granddaughter.

I’m also watching her experience moments of depression and hopelessness as her physical and mental health decline and I hold her while she cries like she held me as a child. In these moments she sometimes says she just wants to go to heaven and as much as this breaks my heart into a million pieces, I get it.  This last stretch of her earthly life must seem exhausting and without purpose but to those of us who love her it is overflowing with purpose.  She has lived for 91 years and I’m grateful for every second God has blessed us with her presence. She has taught us so much about unconditional love, true sacrifice for family and unknowingly what the love of Jesus looks like.

I find comfort in knowing where she is going and at times I wish I could go too. I wish I could be there to introduce her to each of my children and watch her wrap them in her warm hugs but the reality is that she will meet them before I do.  On that day they will be some very lucky kiddos and I will be a very thankful mamma!

Because of her dementia, she still asks me at least once a day if I am going to have a baby and I have never been able to give her the answer she wants to hear. She tells me how she prays all the time for God to give us a baby and can’t understand why He won’t.  I know that God has a plan and perfect timing but I have dreamt so long of sharing the news that I am pregnant with her, to tell her that her first great-grandchild is going to be born.  For 3 years, every trip home has been planned out in my head about how and when I would tell her and every time I’ve only been able to tell her I lost the baby.  I have come to realize now that she will probably never meet this miracle baby and it devastates me. All I can do is trust that God knows what’s best for me and for her, that He has a plan for every part of her life including the end of it.

Infertility has stolen so much from us, things that others take for granted because they came easily. There is so much lost- time, money, joy and of course, babies.  I’m glad that it hasn’t stolen this time from me, that I’m not in the middle of a treatment cycle or miscarrying again, that I can just be here in service of her.

She has spent the last few days asking questions about adoption and how it all works while I tried to explain how complicated it is now from what she knew 50 yrs ago. I finally gave in and tried in the simplest way possible to explain embryo adoption to her.  Instead of frozen embryos I described them as tiny babies in the freezer and how we were going to try and put then inside me to grow a baby and her eyes just lit up.  I showed her pictures of our donors and their boys and she admired how cute they are.  When she asked when this would happen I told her as soon as I go home and she quickly said, “when are you leaving?!” which made me burst into laughter because she had spent a week asking me not to leave. I don’t know if she remembers a word of that conversation we had but she has since stopped worrying and asking questions so I like to think she understood enough to calm her fears and the excitement on her face was worth every struggle we have endured.

I had come home sad to let go of my dreams to share a pregnancy with her but after that conversation I actually felt excited to get back home so that we could prepare for our first donor embryo transfer and I have hope for her living to see the day when her prayers are finally answered.  My grandma is the sweetest person I’ve ever known and all I want is to rejoice with her at what amazing things God has done.

New Built in The Fire Support Group!

I’m so excited to launch my new support group starting in September.  God laid it on my heart about a year ago but it didn’t feel like the right time but recently I heard God whisper “Go!” and where He goes I will follow!

My prayer is for this to be a place of acceptance and understanding when it feels like the world just doesn’t get you, a place for women united in prayer and support for one another as we seek God’s will for our families and a place where we can find joy again within the story God is writing through us.

Built in The Fire is all about how God is shaping and growing us through our trials and my dream is for every women struggling to not just survive their wilderness walk but to conquer it and to reach their promised land where they can say they are grateful for the struggle because look what God has done!

I would love for you to join me in this group, no matter where you are in the process or what you’re struggling with.  I would appreciate everyone sharing this with their network and anyone they know who could benefit.  Let’s be Jesus to the hurting!

For more details click HERE

 

An Embryo Donors Story

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update and to be honest, not much has happened but I have sure missed you all!  We are currently planning to wait until at least August to do our first donor embryo transfer because my cycles have not been cooperating and we have a trip planned to visit my family in Canada at the end of July.

In the meantime, I had asked our embryo donors to write a post to share their perspective with the world and I was thrilled when they said yes so I’m excited to share that with you today!  Their perspective is so unique because they have walked the road that many couples who have frozen embryos are struggling with right now and I hope their words bring light and hope to each of them.

Proud to be a Donor

It was a normal crazy day when out of nowhere I got a text from an old friend of mine. She asked if I knew anyone that had done IVF and might have embryos remaining that they didn’t plan on using. She said she had a friend that had gone through a lot in trying to have a family and was planning on trying embryo adoption.

The strange thing was, my husband and I had just been talking the night before about what do with our 6 remaining embryos. We had decided that we were 99.9% done having children.  We already have 3 very active boys, 3 year old twins and a 5 year old!  My body had already been through a lot after an abdominal myomectomy, a c-section with my first son and another c-section with the twins. I wasn’t sure if my body could handle another pregnancy.

When I got that text from my friend, I knew God already had a plan for those remaining embryos. After all, they are God’s children. I always wanted to be a mother and God had blessed me with three healthy boys so now someone else deserved to be blessed as well.

I talked to my husband that night and over the next few days we did a lot of praying.  At first he had a few concerns, like; what if they don’t like what they get and want to return the child? (lol, not even kidding), our kids are really wild! What if the child is born with special needs? or what if the child wants money from us when they get older? (he’s obviously the worrier in our marriage).  I encouraged him to have faith and reassured him that there would be legal documents where we could add anything we felt we need to protect ourselves.

My husband and I received the potential adoptive couples profile and we reviewed it together. We couldn’t have found a better match!

While continuing to pray about our decision, I was texting back and forth with our would-be recipients and I quickly felt a special connection. We bonded so well! Usually it takes me a while to warm up to people and get to know them, but I felt like we were almost family.  I even had the chance to meet up with her when I flew out to California for a short vacation, and it was like we’d known each other for a long time.

We have told many family and friends about our decision, and have shared with our small groups from church. Many were very surprised that such a thing existed, and most are very supportive of our decision.

Now, all documents have been signed and everything has been taken care of on our part. All we can do now is pray for our embryos and their new family. Overall, I am excited to see what the future holds.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

-Our Donors