Tuesday, August 30, 2016

God Must Be Teaching Me to Trust Him

August 30, 2016 It seems like the last two years of my life have had an overwhelming theme wrapped around it. Trust. Trust in the Lord. Two years ago we found out we were expecting our first child. I was instantly worried. "Trust me..." I heard the Lord whisper in my ear. 16 weeks later we found out our precious little boy wouldn't survive. I would have to hand him over to Jesus hours after birth. "Trust me, daughter...". The night Luke was born, was the hardest yet most beautiful time of my life. When the nurse walked in to wheel him out of our hospital room, I thought I just might fall apart. "I'm here, trust me, beloved..." You get the idea. As we faced each and every hard moment along the way, God was calling me to trust Him over and over again. Clearly, I couldn't face these things alone. As much as I didn't want to, I had to trust. I had to fully believe that God knew what He was doing. Now, as we are going through this adoption process, we wait some more. And yet the same theme is cursing through my veins. Trust. God allowed us to go through a failed adoption. We still trust Him and know that wasn't the child He has for us. Was that hard? You betcha. Was I yet again angry and confused with God's plan? Yep. Now we are in a place with no leads on a baby, and we are just waiting for a match again. There are days when it feels like it's never going to happen. Like this waiting could go on and on with no end in sight. Even though we know things can change overnight when it comes to adoption, it still feels like there's nothing happening! So what do we do? Do we throw ourselves a pity party and do the whole "Woe is me!" thing? No. We continue to wait and TRUST that God knows what He's doing. Maybe our child isn't born yet. Maybe our child isn't conceived yet. Maybe God sees what's coming around the corner and is causing us to wait to avoid more heartache. I don't know. What I do know is that He is good and His plan is clearly better than mine. I never thought I'd be 35 and still waiting to have a child in our home. I might be the oldest mom in the school pick up line one day, but hey, who cares. My God is trustworthy and I will continue to wait because I know that what He has planned for us is totally better than anything I could think or imagine. I've been coming up with a list of things that are "positives" as we've had to wait... 1) More time to raise money. 2) More time for Justin and I to be "just the two of us" 3) More opportunities to grow in my walk with the Lord 4) Conferences, Bible studies & events I've been able to attend 5) Lots of 1 on 1 time with nieces and nephews Those are a few. Had we gotten a child quickly, most of those things wouldn't have been possible. So, I'm thankful, in the midst of the waiting. How you can be praying for us: 1) Patience as we wait. 2) Our future child and his/her birth mom. 3) The necessary funds to come in. 4) That God would teach us more and more about Himself during this time. Thank you, friends, for your continued support.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

He Will Hold Me Fast

It has been a while since logging onto my blog and writing something. Why? I couldn't tell you. It's not like there has been a shortage of things to write about. In fact, I could have written a book on all that has gone on with Justin and I regarding adoption lately. Unfortunately, it's not happy things to report. No, it's hard things. Maybe that's why I haven't wanted to blog. For once, I'd like to report something happy. That will come, I'm sure. For those who haven't heard, we had an adoption fail. Back in March we were matched with a local birth mom and we were utterly thrilled. We had met with her several times and I was really growing to love this girl despite it being hard sometimes. I prayed for her daily. I prayed for the little boy inside of her daily. Both Justin and I were growing very emotionally attached to this little life inside her. We received a text from our social worker saying that our birth mom, let's call her "Sue", would be induced May 20, 2016. Wow, were we excited! We went and registered, we purchased essential things to have at home should he arrive before that, everything was ready! Towels washed, swing assembled, clothes folded perfectly in the drawers, the car seat was even installed. As the day was approaching, we got news that Sue was actually induced early and the baby was born! We were so excited. But, we got some unsettling news. Apparently, there was a family member that was showing interest in the baby and now we don't know if we're going to get him or not. We were devastated. We didn't see this coming. Everything is us wanted to drive down to the hospital he was at, scoop him up, and love on him like we had planned to do all along. That didn't happen. After a couple weeks of no news, we got a random text from Sue telling us that she has gone in a different direction. She thanked us for the support and wished us luck in our search. Wait, what?! So, it's over? Just like that? We immediately broke down into tears. It was another loss. We had already lost our son Luke, and now we are going through the loss of what we thought would be our second son. I remember having similar emotions that evening that we experienced losing Luke.... "Ok Lord, hold me up. We just might loose it here. Please, hold us together." And He has. Just as He did when we lost Luke, God is walking with us as we walk through this trial. He's near, He's not letting us go, and He's preparing us for what's to come. We don't know what that is yet, but we know it will be good. It will be God's best. Isn't that what we desire most? Yes, without a doubt. Last week, I had the opportunity to go to The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference in Indianapolis with 11 other women from our church. A month or so ago I wasn't planning on going because I thought I would be home feeding, holding, loving, and caring for our new baby. Since the Lord had other plans, I was able to go. Oh, I'm so glad He allowed that. It was an amazing time of refreshment both physically and spiritually. God really used this time away to speak to me through His Word and renewed my joy in Him. The theme of the conference was suffering. Now ain't that timely! Ok God, I get it! You wanted me to hear all this amazing teaching on suffering. It was so good. The conference organizers brought in Keith & Kristyn Getty to lead worship those three days. I had heard of them, but never listened to their music before. Wow, was it good. It wasn't fluffy worship music that repeated the same catchy words over and over again. It was the Gospel put to song. It was solid, truthful, and pointed my heart straight to the One that the Gospel is about. My favorite song they led us to sing was called "He Will Hold Me Fast." The song starts by their violinist playing a solo. Talk about goosebumps! Here is a ginormous room filled with 7,200 women and all you hear is the beautiful sound of a violin. It brought me to tears. Here are the lyrics to the song... Verse 1 "When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast; When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast. I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path; For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast. Chorus He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast; For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast. Verse 2 Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast; Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast. He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last; Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast. Verse 3 For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast; Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast. Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast ‘Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last! Powerful words, yes? Imagine singing this with 7,200 people. It was a glimpse of what worship in Heaven will be like. It was also a beautiful thought that no matter what trial we may walk through, Christ will hold me. He will not let my soul be lost even though my love for Him of often cold. Do yourself a favor and buy this song on iTunes. In fact, by their whole album! You won't regret it, and may it bless your heart just as much as it blessed mine. So, as Justin and I continue to wait for the baby that is handpicked by God for us, we cling to the promises of His Word and take comfort knowing that He is holding us fast. And won't ever let us go.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ava's Donation

When we began this adoption process, we knew that fundraising would be a big part of our story. We didn't have an extra $30,000 laying around (who does?!) so we started praying about how to raise such a large amount of money. As I browsed adoption fundraising blogs, I saw that a lot of couples held fundraising dinners. Specifically, spaghetti dinners. Ok, for those of you who knew me well, throwing a big event like that is NOT my gift. I can do paperwork till' I'm blue in the face, tackle a long to-do list...but event planning...not my thing! So, how did I go about such a task? I was encouraged to send out an email to my friends who were good at this type of thing. Those who were good at throwing parties, organized, etc. So I did. I got a response from my dear friend Morgan from church. I was so glad she responded because she has a catering background and is SO gifted! We met for coffee and started planning this dinner. She compiled a list of things we needed to, idea for a silent auction as well, and ways to have the food donated. The event was scheduled for Saturday, April 23. It approached quickly, and to be honest, I was a little stressed with all the details and how it would come together. Silly me for stressing! Morgan was so on top of things! It came together perfectly and the night was a huge success. The morning of the fundraiser, my sister Megan sent me a text. Her text said... "Ava is giving you guys all her piggy bank money." Our sweet 6 year old niece was donating all the money she saved up in her piggy bank to us, to help bring her new cousin home. When Megan told us she wanted to do this, my first response was..."I can't take all her money! She worked so hard saving it!" My mom later encouraged us to accept it, as she might be hurt if we didn't. As soon as Ava arrived for the dinner, we gave her the biggest hug and told her how thankful we were for her donation! She had a big smile on her face, and handed us a Ziplock bag full of change and a few $1 bills. We placed it in the donation box we had set up at the front doors. When we got home later that night, we counted Ava's donation. She gave us $9.52 :) The most meaningful donation of the night, and the most special. She gave us all she had. I told her that her donation was a HUGE help and that she had a big part in bringing her new cousin home. Her face lit up. $9.52...the best donation there ever was.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Adoption Fundrasing Journey

Hi everyone! Well, the journey to adopting is a wonderful roller coaster.  Navigating through Agencies, birth-moms, the selection process, creating the "perfect profile", and the hardest and most difficult part (at least for us) the financials.  We struggled jumping into the waters of adoption because of this very thing.  Asking for monetary donations, describing needs, laying out income details and being upfront about what is needed is very hard for us.  We know it can be a sin issue for us, the pride aspect.  Justin and I have had to lean on the Lord for all of this and know that He is the great provider and sustainer.  He will provide, and we trust that.  The process and the strength to be bold and speak up is where we struggle. 
So, with that said, we have been approved for a tax deductible donation site to help us with this process and allow any of our family or friends a way to help with monetary, tax deductible gifts.  We feel this would be an easy, non pressured way to let everyone know our needs and allow them to give if they feel led to do so. Please consider helping us if the Lord leads you to do so.  We have a long way to go and have been in contact with a couple potential opportunities that could be sooner rather than later.  Thank you all once again for all the support you've given us thus-far and we thank you in advance for the support we know you'll continue to provide. We love you all!  God is good, all the time. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Justin's Letter to Our Unborn Child

Well, friends, we can officially say our home study is DONE!!  Wow, what a process that was.  It was a lot of work, but not nearly as bad as what I was thinking it would be.  Thanks for our dear friend Paige who just went through the adoption process (who I swear is my 4th sister that got lost in the Gammon household somehow), she made it so much easier for us.  She helped us make lists, what things needed to be photo copied, what phone calls we needed to make, etc.  Complete with a cute, plastic folder-like thing, post-it's, tabs, you name it.  Paige and I have a slight obsession with all things office-y...pens, washi tape, planners, post-it's, stickers.  It's kind of a problem!  Haha!

Anyway, back to my point.  Part of the home study process included independent training that Justin and I had to complete.  It was a lot of reading articles, watching videos, read a book on adoption, answer questions that went along with what we read, etc.  One of the last things we had to do was write a letter to our unborn child.  When we got all the materials and I saw that page at the end, I remember thinking..."Oh heavens, what am I going to write. Lord, give me the words to say."  So last night as Justin and I were sitting down on the couch, we came to that page.  He turned to me and said...

"Here, let me write it."

He picked up the paper, went over to our barstools, and sat down and started writing.  When he was done, he walked back to the couch and handed it to me with tears in his eyes.  He said.."It was hard getting through that."  As I read it, the tears started to develop in my eyes as well.  It was short, sweet, simple, yet filled with love and excitement.  Here is his letter...

"Dear precious son or daughter,
   Mommy & Daddy have been on a long journey to you!  We also know your journey to us has been a miracle as well.  We are so excited to meet you and the loving birth mommy whose selflessness allowed you to come to our arms.  We love you.  It's so strange how our Lord works circumstances, good and bad, to come together and achieve the PERFECT plan for us.  We can't wait to hold you and tell you how much we've prayed for you, talked about you, planned what to do with you, even cried for you.  You have a very brave and strong older brother named Luke.  We will tell you all about him, and one day we will all reunite together in Heaven to worship Jesus.  Your mommy and daddy are eager to see you and until we do, be safe and warm.  Love, Mommy and Daddy"

I know, right?  Are you a puddle on the floor like I was?  I love Justin's heart and I love how excited he is to bring our baby home.  He is an amazing dad already, and will continue to be with our next baby.  I got a 6 1/2 hour glimpse into Justin's heart as a father as he loved and cherished our Luke.  I can't wait to see him with our next son or daughter.

Tonight, our social worker is coming over for our home safety audit and tonight we will turn in all of our home study material.  This is a very exciting step and a huge step closer to meeting our child.  We covet your prayers, friends!  Thank you for your care for us :)  We love you all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

We're Adopting!

As I sit here on my couch and write this blog, it's still crazy to me to see the words "We're Adopting!".  Are we really?!  Is this real life?!  Yes, we are and yes, this is real life.  We are a bit overwhelmed by it all, by all that has to happen beforehand, yet so excited to see what God does and how our family grows.

How did we get to this place?  What made us want to pursue growing our family via adoption?  Let me share :)  Before we started officially trying to have a baby, Justin and I talked about adoption a little bit, but our conversations never really went anywhere past the whole "Well, maybe. We'll see."  If I'm being honest, I figured we'd try adoption is a last resort type of thing.  I wanted "my own" kids first.  I was a little naive.  As the years went by and our infertility struggles continued, I began seeing adoption in a different light.  It was becoming more and more appealing to me.  I think that was the Lord lovingly preparing my heart for what He was going to do in our lives later down the road.  Well, right before we were going to start the adoption process, we found out we were pregnant with our Luke.  So, adoption was tabled.  We didn't revisit it until December of 2015.

Back in December, Justin and I just weren't sure what road to take regarding growing our family.  We knew we had 3 options.  #1: continue trying to get pregnant with medical help.  #2: pursue a child via the foster care system. #3: a full fledged adoption.  We knew almost immediately that we were DONE with the infertility treatments.  It was getting very stressful and calculated.  So, we eliminated #1 and what a burden lifted!  We both felt like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders.  Next was the foster care route.  Back in December I had written a Christian foster care agency here in Columbus requesting info.  She wrote me back, but somehow I misplaced her email and wrote again and asked for her to re-send it.  A couple weeks went by, and she didn't respond.  I emailed again asking for someone to re-send the info.  She ended up calling me on the phone and I explained how Justin and I were considering a foster-to-adopt situation.  As soon as I said that, it was like she became a different person.  She was rude, she was short with me, her tone completely changed.  I understand that the goal of foster care is reunification between families and children.  But, it was like she wasn't interested in helping us with that, she only wanted couples that would be foster parents only.  Her words to me went like this..."Well, we rarely have situations come up where we do a foster-to-adopt case, and if it does happen it's a 2-3 year process."  Wow, talk about deflating.  Yet at the same time, she completely answered my question....foster-to-adopt was NOT for us.  And the more we thought about it, the less appealing it became.  We had visions of getting a baby/child placed in our home, falling in love with it, and then having it taken away.  We've experienced that.  We didn't want that to happen again.  When I told Justin about my conversation with the foster care lady, he said..."Well, there's my answer!  I've been praying that God would make it clear as to which road we are to go down, and He's done that!  We are going to pursue adoption!"  And just like that, we started our adoption journey.  I'm telling' ya, as soon as we had a plan, I was a different person.  I don't like to be in limbo, not knowing what we're doing.  I'm a planner by nature and when we finally decided what we were going to do, I was so excited.

So, on February 11th, 2016 we turned in our application for adoption to Choice Network Adoptions based here in Columbus.  As of today, we are about 90% done with our home study.  We will be doing a domestic infant adoption.  We are open to any race, gender, and willing to take up to 2 children ranging in ages infant to 4 years.  We are so excited to see who the Lord has hand picked to be Luke's younger brother or sister!

How can you help?  We need prayer!  Pray for us as we walk through this journey.  I know there will be up's and down's.  Pray that we will keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him completely through this.  Pray for the woman who is carrying our child.  Pray that she will be as healthy as possible, that she will take care of herself.  Pray for our baby :)  That he/she will grow and develop as he/she should, that he/she will be protected and be safe.  Pray for us, that we will be a light in a world that needs God.  That will have a huge impact on our birth mom, her family and all the people we will be in contact with throughout this process.  May we reflect the love of Jesus to this woman who carries our child.  Also, we would love financial help!  As you can imagine, the cost of adoption is very high.  We don't know how we are going to pay for this, but know that if this is what God has for us, He WILL provide each and every dollar along the way!  He's been faithful so far and I have no reason to think that won't continue.  We do have an online donation fund that was started by our dear friend Teresa Sweinsberg.  To donate, you can go to:  https://www.gofundme.com/bsrj73jg

Thank you all for your continued support as we start this very exciting, very challenging, journey.  We can't wait to see all that God has planned for us and what child/children we will be welcoming into our home and our family.  I will update as we go, so stay tuned!  Much Love!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Day We Buried Luke, 1 Year Later

Luke's 1st birthday came and went.  It was a day that was filled with various emotions.  A day that took me by surprise.  I was doing ok.  It was hard, yes, but we were hanging in there.  We were easily able to reflect on all that God has brought us through this past year.  I was thankful.

Then January 29th came.  The 1 year anniversary of the day we buried Luke.  My emotions this day took me by total surprise.  I thought it would be a day similar to the 1 year mark of Luke's passing, but boy was I wrong.  

It. Was. Hard.  The day was filled with nothing but grief.  I barely got through my shift at Target.  I was holding back the tears constantly.  It felt like my heart was literally breaking in two.  I was overwhelmed with pain and anger and kept thinking to myself..."Lord, why did you make me bury my son?"  I was hurting.  I wanted Luke with me so badly.  

When I got home from work, I knew the best thing for my heart was to sit and spend time in prayer and in the Word.  I sat down, grabbed my Bible, but just stared at it.  I couldn't open it.  I was yet again angry with God and didn't want to hear what He had to say to me.  And then the tears flowed.  I sat on my couch and just cried.  And it was the ugly cry too.  The kind of cry where you can't catch your breath, and snot is dripping from your nose and you wipe it on your sleeve.  After about 20 minutes of this, I decided to head to the cemetery.  

Being that it's January, I could only stand to be outside at the cemetery just a few minutes.  It was so dang cold.  Instead of standing at his grave, I went and sat in my warm car, which is about 15 feet from his grave.  I sat there in silence for a few minutes, just staring at Luke's picture on his headstone.   I just sat.  And then I started to pray.  Out loud.  For the first time in my life, I literally CRIED out to God.  I was yelling in my car.


I said a lot more than this, but you get the idea. This went on for about 10 minutes.  After I was done praying, it almost felt like a burden was lifted from my shoulders.  I just had to get it out, audibly.  I had to hear it myself.  I know God knows my heart anyway, so I knew He could take it.  

As the day went on, I could feel the Lord restoring my joy again.  I think it's true that God brings us into the valleys to show us how glorious the hills can be.  It's during those dark, hard, painful times that I'm shown much grace.  And when I'm on the other side of those valleys and reflect on God's faithfulness, it's then that I see how kind and loving He is to see me through the valley of the shadow of death.  Just as God has been faithful to us through this entire journey, I know He will continue to be faithful each and every moment like this.  And they will come again.  Surely they will.  I will miss Luke each and every day of my life, and with that, comes longing and pain.  But, God is good and He will carry us and He will never let us go.  

Lukey, we miss you.  We love you.  You're our first born, our precious little boy.  Yes, mommy and daddy get very sad, but we KNOW you are happy, complete, full, whole, and in the presence of your Creator.  Our separation is temporary.  We can't wait to spend eternity with you.  Your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins can't wait either!  They all miss you tremendously too.  Hugs and kisses, sweet boy.