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Friday, December 14, 2012

Expecting the Unexpected

Psalm 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."  For many, many years I only lived in the first part of that verse.  My story was hope deferred.

I was 35 years old when I walked down the isle and married the love of my life.  At that moment I truly lived the whole verse of Psalm 13:12.  I had the tree of life.  I am reminded daily that God not only fulfilled His promise by giving me Jacob to share my life, but He went FAR ABOVE anything I asked or imagined.  Jacob is my one true love, my soul mate, and my best friend.  We were so thankful that God brought us together.

Over the past year and a half, I have realized that my story was never just "hope deferred" but it was a story of redemption.  All those years of waiting were redeemed when I married Jacob.  And now, I can see how God is continuing that story of redemption. 

If your heart is like mine, it is forever seeking more.  We had each other, but we wanted more--we wanted children. Last December, we found out that longing was fulfilled.  We were pregnant!  Then a few days before Christmas, I was in the ER and losing the baby.  My heart was truly sick, and I was angry with God.  I struggled to understand why God would give and take away so quickly.  I struggled to understand why this was a part of my story.

Fast forward through about 6 months of deferred hope.  Earlier this summer, I got another positive test.  We had barely got the good news that it happened again.....this time we knew not to go to the ER.  There was nothing that could be done.  The doctors all said it was normal....that my chances of still having a baby in the future were good.  We prayed for understanding and for healing for our hearts. 

During this time, God began to work in our hearts on the issue of adoption.  He specifically used a Sunday message where 3 couples from our church shared about adoption.  After the second miscarriage, we truly began pursuing this together in our conversations.

It just so happened that a few weeks after our second miscarriage, Jacob and I heard about a sibling set of 3 that were up for adoption from the foster care system.  Their story immediately tugged at both of our hearts, and without a doubt God prompted us to pursue them.  And that's what we have been doing for the past 7 months.   We've been in a long, hard, and complicated process of getting these kids.

Well, today we officially can say, we are going to be parents.  Within the next week, Ethan,  who is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed 4-year-old boy and his 3-year-old identical twin sisters, Gracie and Hayley (also of the blonde-haired and blue-eyed variety) will be in our home and care.   

The kids on their first day of preschool.  
God has been doing some crazy, amazing things that we just have to share.  First, God connected me to a group of women that are all adoptive moms.  Each week, I have been going to Bible study with them and they have loved on us and walked us through this difficult process.  They've been absolutely invaluable to our journey.  They, along with a few close friends, have been praying for us through this process.  

Our prayer team especially held the ropes for us in November.  November was a hard month.  The month started on a very surprising note.  On November 8th, we found out I was pregnant.  This should be great news, but we were a little freaked out because six days later Jacob's employer, Hostess, closed it's doors and laid off about 18,000 employees.  God graciously allowed Jacob to keep his job as part of the wind-down team, although at the time we didn't know how long he had.  This happen days before the staffing to determine the kid's placement, and having a job is pretty important to the agency! 

As we entered December, Jacob and I really felt attacked on several levels.  It's not exactly a "sane" idea to adopt 3 toddlers, while pregnant, and be unemployed and uninsured.  There was a lot of pressure on us, and a lot of that pressure was financial.  So, we of little faith, set about making a plan of how WE were going juggle all of this.  You see, we'd forgotten God didn't need us to help.

In the last week, HE has proved that to us.  First, Jacob started getting some interviews after no activity for months of trying.  He had two interviews last week, which was encouraging to us.  The next day, we found out "inadvertently" that we were chosen to be the kids parents.  This news had to be kept quiet as the last few pieces of paperwork were done.  Knowing was such a relief though (and a reality check).  Later that night, we were invited over to dinner at the home of the leader of my adoptive mother's group.

When we got there, she said that the reason she invited us over was to find out our needs.  She said that although not everyone is called to adopt, we all have a responsibility to orphans and need to participate in the ministry of adoption.  She said it was our turn to receive some help from those around us.  We gave her a list of our needs--everything from a minivan to sippy cups.  After a minute she told us, "We've already had one donation that I'd like to show you."

We followed her through her laundry room and she opened her garage door and there was a minivan.  What?  Jacob and I were in shock.  A couple in our church were going to sell this minivan, and Amy told them our story.  She thought we might be interested in buying it.  They prayed about it and felt God was leading them to give it to us instead.  Um, wow!!!!  THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW US!

Jacob and I cannot even tell you how this one act totally lifted pressure off our shoulders.  This was such a huge need and expense that we now didn't have to worry about.  What an amazing God we serve!  This tangible need was met by our God through the faithfulness of His followers.  (A very cool side note to this--Amy and her husband were one of the three couples that shared about adoption almost a year to the day before that got us praying about adoption.  We didn't connect those dots until that night!)

So in the course of one week, Jacob had some good job leads, we found out the kids were coming our way, and we were given a minivan.  Wow.  We were overwhelmed by His provisions. 

This week has been more of the same.  On Monday Jacob got a job offer!  Not only does it pay better, we will also have an uninterrupted salary and uninterrupted health insurance.  Two more HUGE burdens were lifted off our shoulders.  The next day, we had our second ultrasound.  We got to see the heartbeat and hear that our miscarriage chances have dropped to 5%.  We are continuing to trust God to protect this baby.  I am currently 10 weeks along and due on the twins' birthday in July!

Then today we got the official news the kids are ours.  We started letting our prayer circle know the news.  A few minutes later, Amy texted us and asked if we could meet her at Old Navy.  We were out shopping for the kids, so we said sure.  She surprised us again with the Church's generosity.  Another church in our community contacted her to see if there were any needs for adoptive and foster families in our church.  They had a huge drive and had extra gift cards to share.

Again, we were overwhelmed.  With the gift cards from this other church, we were able to go shopping and get the girls (who want to dress alike) a whole new wardrobe.  Then Amy asked if we wanted to go to Target.  Again, through gift cards from the Church, we were able to get some much needed things for the kids--towels, sippy cups, mattress pad covers, pajamas, and hangers.  In addition we have had many people give us gifts for the kids, give us some gently used toys, and some clothes as well.

God has poured out His blessings on us through our church, friends, and prayers of His people.  And the thing is, it's not about us.  It's about HIS glory.  He has known all along that He wanted Jacob and I to live a better story.  Although I will always grieve the miscarriages, I see now how God used them to bring about a bigger story of redemption.  He has redeemed our losses, and we pray that we will be able to help Ethan, Hayley, and Gracie to begin living their story of redemption as well.

Whether you have known about this for a while or you just made it through this post, thank you for your support.  We have been sooooo blessed by the love and support of our friends.  Thank you to everyone who has given us things and helped us meet the tangible needs of the kids.  We have had so much to buy we were overwhelmed with it all.  We really don't know how we could have gotten this far without your help either!!!   

We hope our story has encouraged you.  If you're in a "hope deferred" valley or a "longing fulfilled" mountain top right now, please remember that God is there with you.  He does have a plan and it is good.  One of my favorite quotes says it this way:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

Walk with God in faith.  Trust Him.  He has an amazing redemption story for your life. 


13 comments:

  1. I'm so excited for you guys!!!

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  2. Oh, Holly!! I'm sooooo happy for all of you!! God is so good! Thank you for sharing your story of the tangible ways he has showed his love. I can't wait to see more of your updates! The kids are just adorable! We'll be praying for all of you and the little bitty one!

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  3. Holly,
    I don't think that I have met you personally but I have known Jacob for many years. He and my son went to high school together and at times have been an inspiration to each other.
    In your post, you sound like someone who has a good head as well as strong faith. I have 2 kids, 3 years apart and I cannot imagine having 4 preschoolers. The scriptures tell us that God will not give us more than we can handle so I know you must be a strong woman.
    The children you adopted are precious and young enough that you will still have a great influence on their lives. I congratulate you and Jacob for a job well done in hanging in there when it looked so gloomey. I will remember all of you in my prayers. So that I won't take up so much of your blog, I will tell you to ask Jacob about me. I am Matthew's mom.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful. "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

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  5. Wow! Larry and I have had a good cry as we are rejoicing with you! The adventure continues with these three treasures He has entrusted to you. We are praying for you all and praising the LORD!!

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  6. WOW what a testimony. When the rest of our nation is going through the grief of the killings of children in Newtown, you bring us this wonderful story of adoption. During my morning devotions I felt such great sorrow for parents who lost their children and then I come across this blog. My tears continued to flow but they were tears of excitement and joy for you. As Jacob tells you about Matthews mother have him include his dad...that's me.

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  7. Holly, thanks for sharing your story! I love the reminder that we can have anything worked out, but God writes our stories in his own *better* way! I'm excited for your growing family!

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  8. I am completely floored by this. WOW WOW WOW. God is so amazing. My spirit is encouraged. AMAZING. thank you so much for you sharing your story. I am so very thrilled for you, your hubby, and your beautiful family. I can't wait to see pics of you all together. what a beautiful tapestry HE has written.

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  9. I heard about your story through Jennifer S. and am absolutely elated to see how God has met the desires of your heart!
    God bless you and your family!

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  11. Read this story last night and went to sleep with such a happy heart for you! I am in awe of what God is doing with your family. Talk about abundant blessings!!! Totally thrilled for you and Jacob. I'm sharing your story as a testimony of God at work with everyone I know. Love you friend!

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  12. I can read this over and over. I'm so amazed by God's continued provision!

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