Monday, January 20, 2014


I didn't know it at the time, but this little boy was a miracle baby.
I always wanted a big family.  Always.  Choosing baby names is honestly one of my earliest memories.  Thank goodness you don't have children when you are ten, because my children would be Chrysanthemum (horrible), Sidney (got lucky here, still one of my favorites), and Brishan (my parents' personal favorite).  Poor taste aside, this is just something I always saw for myself - grow up, get married, and have lots of kids.  
When I did get married, we knew early on that having a family would most likely be harder for us than for the average couple.  During the hard times when we were trying to have a baby, I was always plagued by the thought that I knew I had so much love to give a child.  Surely there was a child somewhere for me to love?  After a few years of infertility ups and downs, we finally found (fairly simple) help from a doctor, and were pregnant soon after.  We thought we had found the answer to our struggles.
When it was time to think about having another child, we simply did what worked for us before, and quickly we were pregnant again.  Only this time, shortly after hearing the baby's heartbeat, we lost the baby.  We were discouraged, but not hopeless.
Soon after that, we were pregnant for the third time, and yet again, the ultrasound showed us another baby that failed to thrive.  Once again we were discouraged and broken, but not hopeless.
Though as time went on, our hope began to dwindle.  And a few months later, we were suddenly faced with the reality that we would not be having more children without an additional financial investment.  In essence, that door was closed.  And we were devastated.
Through it all, I felt God speaking to me.  He was asking "Katie, do you love me?"  Yes, Lord, I love you.  "Katie, do you love me more than having babies?"  This is the question that though I would like to think it was an instant yes, made me really stop and think.  My thoughts and behaviors, every mood and timing and procedure, was completely engrossed in doing what I could to have a child.  It became the most important thing to me.  But when I thought of God, sitting face to face with me, asking me that question, I could only answer in one way.  Yes, God, I love you more than having babies.  I laid aside my biggest dreams and desires because that is what he asked me to do.  It was hard, but it was the only way.  And though I still deal with the outcome of that on most days, this story still has a happy ending.
That feeling that we had years ago, that there were children out there who needed the love of a family, stayed with us.  God placed the desire so strongly in our hearts, that we are following his call, and we are now embarking on a new journey - a journey to adopt a child.  God is taking us on a crazy adventure.  One that will not just lead us out of our comfort zone, but across the globe to Ethiopia.  And we are ready to share this with all of you.
We are definitely in the early stages of this process, which began last fall.  It will be a long journey.  The estimated timeline they gave us is at least three years, if not longer.  So my feelings about this are just that we are living day by day.  But I can say that when we made the decision to proceed with adoption, all the stress that comes with infertility melted away, and I truly felt at peace.
And through these past few months, we have been reassured that we are following God's will in little ways, even though somedays we feel overwhelmed by what we are agreeing to.  A few months back, before we had shared our decision with anyone, Byron travelled to Virginia for work.  On his flight home, he began talking with the gal he was sitting next to on the plane, and one thing led to another and he opened up to her about our adoption plans.  She was very supportive, as most people we have shared with are, and he left appreciating the conversation they had.  Within a week from him returning home, I checked the mail and realized there was a note about the size of a thank you card from someone I didn't recognize. I opened it and quickly realized it was from the woman he had met on the plane - with a very kind and supportive note as well as a check for $50.  We couldn't believe it!  And since then, other things have happened that have allowed us to use our story for good.  I choose to believe that God is giving us this opportunity to strengthen our testimonies, and that in the end, the hardest, saddest, most broken part of our lives will turn into something beautiful that He will use for His story.
Thank you for letting me share what has been on my heart.  We are thankful for those of you who will stand with us on our journey!


Julie Loeding said...

God's been asking me the same question for two years now... you're so beautiful and brave in your answer to choose yes. Can't wait to share this adventure with you!

Heather Haxton said...

So excited for your journey ahead. I actually know of a family that my sister is good friends with you has adopted I think 3 children now from Ethiopia and were even able to find grant funding to help with the costs. If you would like I know they are a very open couple and I could get contact information to you. I will add your journey unto my prayer list. Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

I'm writing through tears. I know EXACTLY how you feel....the brokeness, the devastation, and then the peace. It will all end with JOY! God is so good Katie. We've been through all of this. When the waiting is hard, or just because, please know that I am here if you need to ask questions or chat! We'd be happy to share our journey with you to help you on yours! PRAYING!

Allison Shaw said...

Thank you for sharing Katie -- I will be praying for your new adventure!

lmccool said...

Katie and Byron
You have all our love and support in your grand adventure. I particularly like this quote from C.S.Lewis' book The Last Battle "We must go on and take the adventure that comes to us." We're praying with you through the adventure that is before you now, and is yet to come.

Marilyn Van Engelenhoven said...

Katie, God has great things in store for those who love Him --- and submit to Him. You have made that hard commitment and now God will lead you. We will join the prayer warriors for God's blessings on you.
(It was so good to see you and your family on your blog! You haven't changed since kindergarten!!! Well, maybe a little! You are still that sweet beautiful girl!). God knows your heart!
Our daughter, Julie, has also adopted from Ethiopia. Isaiah is such a gift and a blessing to our family. Blessings as you continue this journey. Much love, Marilyn Van Engelenhoven "Mrs. Van"

Kim Beran said...

Thanks for sharing Katie. We will be praying for you guys. Keep us posted and hope to see you soon. Love you both. Kim Beran