Today's surprise office visit was one of our clients who brought gifts for the next several adoptive families in honor of the child whose placement in their home fell through. My eyes welled with tears when she explained they wanted to do something in honor of the child they expected to have in their home this Christmas. This act of generosity is exactly what God calls us to. His unmerited gift of the Christ child was different than expected, and full of grace for people who were planning for their Savior King to show up under very different circumstances.
In this season of giving, I'm reminded of the many biblical examples of giving - gifts from the lavish treasures presented by the Magi to the sacrifice of the woman who gave all she had. Each sacrificial gift has value to Christ. When we think about 0ur motivation in gift giving this Christmas, let our focus be generous giving as God gave to us and think less of what we might receive.
...Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.
You can pin the list below as a helpful *hint, hint* or just a reminder for future birthdays, placement gifts, etc. Here is our article from last year with all the helpful links to each of these gifts. Happy shopping and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
son’s birth mom who was going into labor and considering placing the baby with their family so the siblings would be together. Everything happened quickly and communication was flying back and forth between the Rinns, our agency, and the birth family as mom was making last minute decisions rather than connecting earlier with our agency. As the hours and days went by and the fog of unanswered questions thinned in the light of day, light of day, mom solidified her decision to parent and the Rinns were left with a sense of loss over a child that was never theirs. They were understandably frustrated as emotions had gone from high to low and our agency was in a bind when the birth mom did not connect with us regarding her wishes. What felt like an unnecessary trial turned into a refining fire clarifying their desire to grow their family through adoption yet again. These few days were a catalyst bringing the idea of infant adoption back into focus.
When Josh & Amy stepped through the doors of Christian Adoption Services in late winter, they had hope for the spring and the new life that would come into their family. They were joyful about their future family of four and knew it was time to pursue that dream. The loss during the previous summer shifted the Rinn’s vision of their family composition and their son was eager to become a big brother. The conversation with our staff was highly anticipated as they had only spoken with these workers during their frustrating possible match with their son’s birth mom. With a huge life decision involving the deepest emotions of parents and significant financial investment, trust had to be built for social workers who would lead them in navigating the blurry yet exhilarating path toward their unborn child. Leaving the CAS office, Josh & Amy were taking their first step into home study approval and the waiting period until expectant parents would choose them to raise their child.
The Rinn’s journey started to weave together with the birth parents six months later. Their lives would become intertwined in a beautiful image of love for the son they all cared for deeply even before his life began. It was autumn when CAS received a text from an expectant woman, *Julia, who was 20 weeks pregnant. She and her long-term boyfriend, *Tony, were in their 30s and 40s, lived in separate towns, and already had children from previous relationships. The thought of starting over with a new baby was not something either felt prepared for – emotionally or financially.
After much counseling and tears, Julia & Tony concluded choosing an adoptive family was what their child needed the most. This decision never comes easy to birth parents. Adopted children are wanted and loved by their birth parents, and allowing someone else to be mom and dad is a sacrificial decision!
While looking through profiles books, Julia & Tony felt a sense of peace and connection when picturing the Rinns as parents to this baby. The next months were an emotional flurry as Julia & Tony and Josh & Amy planned to meet each other and carefully consider the future of the precious unborn baby boy. In December, CAS held a “Match” meeting for the families. During this meeting, Josh & Amy saw the vision of becoming a family of four a little clearer.
A short month and a half later, Josh & Amy brought their beautiful baby boy home! Today the Rinns remain in contact with Julia & Tony. They share emails, pictures, and visits. Even though individuals walking through the adoption process experience loss and grief, all parties can celebrate the new life that comes forth by providing a child with a forever family.
*Names changed for confidentiality
Brave Love is an organization we have been blessed by through their video content and beautiful stories shedding light on a birth parents' loving decision. We use their videos when we speak about current adoption practices and positive language. Some of our adoptive families have purchased gifts from their shop and we are grateful for this pro-adoption movement. We spoke with Laura, their executive director, about being an agency partner. If you look at their map, North Dakota is not represented and we would love to be that beacon of hope for pregnant women who stumble across Brave Love looking for another option for their child. This partnership includes an annual fee of $600 and we would love to make that commitment, but we need your help. Would you consider coming alongside us in this partnership with Brave Love? Co-sponsors investing up to half the cost would really help make this commitment possible for our ministry. Donate now or contact us at 701-237-4473 if you have questions.
Our Journey to Parenthood blog segment reprinted with author's permission. The views expressed are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of Christian Adoption Services.
To my 12 remaining embryos,
The day we learned there were 14 of you we instantly knew our story of hope wasn’t just for us. You have been frozen now for almost 3 years. Sometimes my infertility feels like a distant memory and other times the pain and anguish of an empty womb floods my heart like it was just yesterday. My body went through a lot just in hopes that God would give me one of you. So when the Doctor called to tell us there were 14 of you, we were in shock.
I have been thinking about you a lot lately.
I don’t really know if we will be going back for another round of IVF. Your siblings are triplets and it is kind of a lot right now. And if we decided to have another baby and had the opportunity to bring one of you into this world, it wouldn’t be for a few more years and we know we could only take one of you. I wish we could take all of you, but I know deep in my heart that God didn’t make you so I could keep all of you just for myself....
However, the truth is, as much as I call you mine, or even one day hers, you are God’s perfectly made little snowflakes. And I have to trust in what God told me in the very beginning: “You are hope, hope for many.” Deep in my heart I know that your Mama will love you like I love you. And even though it is hard for me to fully comprehend that right now, I know, one day, He will prepare my heart for her to be your Mom, but I will always be connected to you. I will be apart of you. I will always be loving you.
Your first Mom.
CAS conducts home studies for families in MN & ND pursuing embryo adoption. If you are interested in learning more about this process, please check out these other resources:
The plus side of this podcast is that the guests vary regarding the type of adoption journey they have had (domestic, international, foster-adopt..) and it is a good survey of the many different situations and challenges facing adoptive families, along with some stories from the adoptees personally. I would say the negative thing** for our CAS clients is that of all the episodes I've heard so far, the birth parents are not integrated into the conversation as much. Since many of the stories I have heard so far are not domestic infant adoption, conversations about openness and navigating the relationship with birth parents haven't been as prevalent. I'm hoping to hear more of these themes as I listen to more episodes. Even in the host's personal domestic infant stories, unfortunately the birth parent perspective is not well-represented. Since the audience is definitely adoptive families, I can get past some of my misgivings when I think of the encouragement this podcast can be for families in many different stages of the adoption journey. The host, April Fallon, is very faith-centered and intentional about approaching each story with grace and support. There is an awesome segment in their first episode (AJ's Adoption Story) about their personal adoptions that April and Noah discuss what God taught them through their first adoption....
"It reminds us of God's adoption for us...God changes you.
I recommend checking it out for yourself and I hope you find stories that you can relate to and receive encouragement from.
Office Manager @ CAS
**Post Update: I was pleasantly surprised to have a response from April Fallon, host of Adoption Now, within 24 hours of our post. She gave some suggestions of what stories to listen to with more focus on open adoption and birth parents. She also invited our families to share their stories as guests on her show, so if you are looking for ways to share positive adoption stories, get in touch with Adoption Now. I can't wait to give these a listen...
From April Fallon, Host of Adoption Now:
Lauren Stokes is an adoptee that was adopted in Denver 37 years ago into an open adoption. She is now a therapist and speaks on the value of knowing her birthparents and having a relationship with them while she was growing up. Corrine Christian is an adoptive mom of 5 kids (3 adopted). She shares about open adoption and how she takes the birthparents on trips, she just took a birthfather to Peru. She shares how much she loves open adoption and the healthy benefits her children experience through knowing their birth parents. She also holds birth parent retreats to help in their healing after placement. In Ashley Mitchell's story, she is a birthmother that shares what it was like to place her baby into adoption and how she has a relationship now through open adoption with her son. My husband and I have adopted 4 children and two of them have the same birth parents, we also have an open adoption. We have discussed having boundaries due to the birth parents drug addictions but the wonderful benefits of knowing our children's birth family. This week we will be interviewing Ashely again who is now writing curriculum for agencies on birthmother care. She is teaches adoptive families how to have healthy open relationships and how to interact with your birthmother. This is a topic it sounds like you are looking for and we hope you will check out some of these recent ADOPTION NOW podcasts! If you have a family that would like to tell their story, we would love to hear from them. Thank you so much taking the time to listen!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.