Prayer Circle

pt. 20 – Hello dear ones,

Chris and I have been able to be in touch with many of you already, but I wanted to send an e-mail to make sure we reached everyone. This past Thursday we had our blood test to see if our transfer had resulted in a pregnancy, but the results were not what we had hoped. While we transferred two beautiful little ones, it wasn’t God’s will for us to raise & love on them here.
We are heartbroken and disappointed…we had a lot of love & anticipation for our two little ones, a lot of hope that this FET would bring a baby or babies to our family. Even so, we know that God has not forsaken us and we will continue to look to Him & trust in His plan for our family. He has turned our sorrow into joy before, and we know that He will use this sadness for good. Already we have felt comforted and strengthened by His presence and the words of so many.
Thank you all so much for the love & support you’ve shown us, and especially for your prayers. It means so much to know these little ones were loved and their lives acknowledged by so many. Investing in lives is eternal, and you all had a hand in welcoming two little souls in the Kingdom. To God be the glory for that!
Many have asked when we will go back for our other two embryos; we’ll take the time needed to process/grieve before we start praying about when to go back. There are several things we’ll need to consider / have in place {physical, financial, etc.} before we will be able to complete another FET cycle, but we’ll definitely be going back for them!
Again, we love you all & have been so blessed by your role in our family’s testimony! We definitely won’t turn down your continued prayers as we move forward, and as always, I would love to pray for you as well!
Much love & blessings,
Heather

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pt. 19 – Hello dear ones!

We have been home and snuggled in for a little while now…what a day! 🙂 Thank you for all of your support – we saw prayers answered today! 
~ Our drive was a safe one, a bit slower than normal – but no trouble!
~ Both embryos survived the thaw safely…the embryologist said they are “beautiful!”
~ The transfer went really well!
It was definitely an experience…we were a bit late going back for the transfer {not sure why}, but once we were back there things went really fast! We both had to put on all sorts of hair covers & booties & a bodysuit for Chris {since the transfer was done in a sterile environment. The doctor gave us a picture of our little ones, the nurse gave us the run-down of our plan for today and afterwards.} Once in the room where the transfer took place, we got to see the embryos on a screen {so tiny!} and watch as they were sucked up into the tube that was then walked carefully to our room by the embryologist. Once they were transferred, I stayed laying down for about 20 minutes, then we were up and on our way!
Now we wait and pray that those little ones are snuggling in!
Thank you all again for all of your prayers…we were both very calm, and I as we were driving I truly felt as though I could feel all of your prayers. Of course I had the playlist for the ride planned out…and one of the songs really struck me – “May we never lose our wonder…wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child, staring at the beauty of our King. Cause you are beautiful in all your ways. You fascinate me…Truly, I pray that we never forget the wonder that we felt today as we looked at these tiny little beautiful lives created by our King. It has been quite a journey to get to this point…lots of ups and downs…but today we got to see the beauty in His plan. I hope you feel some of that wonder as well… 🙂

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pt. 18 – Hello dear ones!

The biggest of the big days so far is here…tomorrow we get to meet two of our little ones & complete our first frozen embryo transfer!
Our transfer is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. They will start thawing two of the embryos shortly before that {it doesn’t take long, even though they’ve been frozen just over 4 years} by removing them from their freezer container and allowing them to naturally come to room temperature. At that point, they’ll get their first ‘bath,’ which is done to wash off the cryoprotectant that protected them during the freezing process. From there a few more science-y things will happen…they’ll each get a ‘grade,’ they’ll watch to make sure they do whatever it is that 6-day embryos are supposed to do, they’ll take their picture…and then it will be transfer time!
As I’ve said before, the procedure is a pretty simple one. It shouldn’t be painful or anything like that. I’ll lay still in the doctor’s office for 30ish minutes afterwards, then we’ll head home where I’ll take it pretty easy for the rest of the day. I took Wednesday off of work as well, but from there it will be basically back to normal while we wait on these little ones to snuggle in! 🙂
Please join us in praying…
~ For the embryos as they thaw – This is a critical part of the day, and our prayer is that they will only have to thaw 2 and that they’ll both survive.
~ For our drive – It looks like the temperature will rise above freezing hopefully as we are leaving…we’re counting on the roads being fairly well traveled by that time.
~ For the transfer & our doctor
~ For the waiting period afterwards!
I can say that God has been so good to continue to supply our every need…a tax return that will cover our next reorder of meds, a calm & peaceful mind & spirit, little to no tension between Chris & I at a time when stress could really be running high…it’s been a really good last several days. 🙂
And then of course there are you all! Y’alls support has been just invaluable…I feel like I can never thank you enough. We love you all & are so happy to share this joy with you!
Much love & blessings,
Heather
P.S. – Here’s a little infertility fun for ya with a few of the acronyms I’ve been learning throughout this process! 😉 Can you figure out what I’m saying?
Finally our TTC journey has led to an FET! Tomorrow my DH & I will head to the RE and when we leave I’ll be PUPO! I’m going to try to wait for the blood test & not POAS…and the whole time we’ll be praying for a BFP!

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pt. 17 – Hello dear ones!

I am happy to report that our doctors visit today went very well. My lining was up to where it should be & everything looked good!
I will continue taking the new medicine that I started in response to this set-back and will add in the final shot later this week. From there I’ll continue the medicine regimen through our waiting period & into my 10th week of pregnancy.  Thanks to a friend of ours {who is a paramedic} showing us the ropes, Chris felt confident enough to give me my second big shot. I am so proud of him, and we can definitely use your continued prayers in that area. We need that medicine to continue doing it’s job! 🙂
Our new transfer date has been set for Tuesday, January 24th. Although we had a bit of confusion as to God’s timing and why we had the slight delay, we are feeling at peace & ready to go! The morning of our transfer they will thaw two of our embryos. We are praying both survive to transfer; however if only one survives we will transfer just one. {In the event that neither survive, they would thaw the other two embryos and go from there.}  The transfer itself is quick & pretty painless, and then begins the waiting period. We’ll do a series of blood work in a few weeks to determine if the transfer was successful, and around 6 weeks we will have our first ultrasound to see how many babies there are. 🙂
You all have been so great to pray for us, and several of you have taken me up on my offer to pray for you as well. Please, please let me know if there is a way I can lift you up…I am humbled and happy to do so. 
Our continued prayers…
~ For the shots / medicine to do it’s thang 😉
~ For our embryos to safely thaw
~ For a successful transfer!
I hope you all have a great week…as for the Thompson’s, the countdown is on! T-9 days and counting! 🙂
Much love & blessings,
Heather

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pt. 16 – Hello dear ones!

Quick e-mail tonight…hope you don’t mind. 🙂 It’s been an interesting day for the Thompson’s – we could use your prayers in a couple of areas.
I had an appointment with my doctor to see if everything is on track for our transfer next week. As it turns out, things aren’t quite where they should be.The doctor put me on an additional medicine, which we are praying will arrive on Wednesday. {It’s coming from the east coast, and they’re getting lots of snow there!} Because of this bump, our transfer date has been pushed back. I’ll go back for another check-up on Sunday morning…we’ll know more of the plan moving forward at that point.
Here are the specific prayer requests as far as our transfer cycle is concerned: 
~ For the medicine to arrive no later than Wednesday.
~ For the friends who have volunteered to give me the shots…this new medicine is in shot form, so their time is coming! 😉
~ For my lining to be at {or very near} a 7…I won’t go into more detail than that, but God knows!
Also, as you all know, Chris has been looking / applying for a new job for quite a while now. He got a call today from one of the places he was very interested in, and he has an interview tomorrow morning. We were scrambling around tonight finding him a suit {they told him to wear one}, so he’ll be dressed for success!
In all things, we trust in God’s plan. Today was both exciting and disappointing, but God is good in all of it. {Can’t say I totally understand what He’s up to here, but it’s not all for me to know!} As it is, I’m pretty exhausted from the ups and downs of the day – so it’s off to bed for me. His mercies are new every morning, and we’re praying that He’ll move in big ways in/for the Thompson family tomorrow!
As always, big thanks & hugs to all of you.
– Heather

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pt. 15 – Hello dear ones! I hope this e-mail finds you *well*…there has been so much sickness going around, and the Thompson house can’t quite shake the gunk either. I’m praying good health over each of you!

I am about a week into the medicine regimen needed to prepare my body for our frozen embryo transfer {FET}. This first round of medicine hasn’t been bad…little to no side effects, and although it is a shot I give myself daily, the needle is very small. That first day was a bit of a challenge for me emotionally, but since then it’s basically been business as usual.
A couple of days into the shots I realized I had been so busy praying that I would be able to give myself the shots, that they wouldn’t hurt, and that I wouldn’t have many side effects, that I hadn’t been remembering to pray that the medicine would do what it is supposed to do! 🙂 Oops!
I’ll go in this week for blood work and a check-up to make sure the medicine is indeed working and that my body is responding as hoped. If everything is on track, I will add in 3 pills a day starting on Friday as “phase 2” of the medicine.  {The medicine I am currently injecting works to suppress my hormones, and the estrogen pills will reintroduce the needed hormones. Everything is in an effort to prepare my body to welcome our little ones!}
I would appreciate it so much if you would join us in praying that God would continue to prepare my body, that the medicines would do what they are supposed to & my body would cooperate, and for my doctor and nurse’s wisdom as we move forward in the transfer cycle. 
We also heard from our genetic family this past week and received an updated picture of their adorable little boys. It was incredible to read the words of encouragement they wrote, and to hear their belief that these little ones were meant to be ours from the beginning. Just amazing!
Thank you all for your prayers for our genetic family & us…I don’t think any of us will fully understand on this side of Heaven what all God has been doing in response to our prayers. I can only speak to what He has been doing in me – and I know it is an awesome work. I love you all for your part in what He’s doing!
Much love & blessings,
Heather
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pt. 14 – Hello & Happy New Year dear ones!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season…mine was so nice I’m having a hard time knowing that it’s drawing to a close! We enjoyed a pretty quiet and calm Christmas, and had a lot of fun dreaming about what next Christmas could be like with a little one/s to share the joy with!
This past Friday Chris and I traveled through that cold winter rain to visit with our fertility doctor. I had blood work and a couple of tests done to ensure that I am ready for a FET {frozen embryo transfer}. Our doctor was pleased with my health and with our embryos, so he is confident and optimistic that we will have a successful FET cycle and transfer. We also had a teaching session with a nurse to learn about the medicines I’ll be taking and how to administer them. I’ll start the medicine regimen within a couple of weeks, and we have scheduled our transfer for mid-February. We hope to transfer 2 of our embryos at that time! 🙂
Since we are hoping to transfer 2 embryos, our prayer is that both would implant, resulting in twins. Of course, we would be thrilled with a singleton as well, though I know there would be grief & mourning for the little one lost. {There is also the chance that our FET would not result in a pregnancy, in which case we would regroup and try again with the second set of embryos at a later time.} We are trusting in God’s goodness and in His plan for our family as we move toward the FET. Whatever happens, we know that our little ones will *live* – either here with us, or in Heaven with God. Nothing is wasted with God, and I find myself asking Him repeatedly to show up & show off…we want Him to receive all glory for the work He is doing!
Thank you all for your prayers over the past year {or more, for some of you!}…it has been a true lesson in humility and in perseverance for me as I have witnessed so many faithfully lifting us up to the Lord. In the next few weeks, please join me in praying that God would prepare my body to receive these little ones. The first two medicines I’ll be taking are pretty simple & easy, and I’ll be cutting down on caffeine and upping my water intake. Other than that the goal is just to be healthy & as stress-free as possible…so if you see me stressing, tell me to cut it out! Ha! 😉
As always, I am happy to pray for you all in any way that I can…just let me know!
Much love & blessings,
Heather

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pt. 13 – Hello everyone!

I just wanted to thank you all for your prayers and let you know that our little ones made it to the clinic safe and sound! {One of my coworkers was relieved when I clarified for her that they were delivered to our clinic, not to our house. She couldn’t stop picturing them in the freezer next to a tub of ice cream! Agh!}
 
As always, we are thankful, relieved, and praising God to have another step of the process complete. 🙂 
At this point, we’ve basically ‘graduated’ from the adoption agency…we’ll go through them to connect with our donor family and to update them on where we are, but other than that it’s all in the clinic’s court now. I’ll be in touch with you all after our appointment on January 2nd to let you all know our new timeline.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
– Heather

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pt. 12 – Hello dear ones!

As you all know, just before Thanksgiving our contracts finalized and we because the proud parents of 4 little ones…our snowflakes! {Also known as our popsicles…I’m afraid there are many potential nicknames floating around right now, including FedEx! Ha!} The next step in our process was for our agency to arrange for the shipment of our little ones from the clinic they are currently at to our clinic in Fort Worth. Which leads us to the reason for this e-mail and our request for your prayers… 🙂
This coming Tuesday, December 16th, our embryos will ship overnight via FedEx. Once they arrive safe and sound at our clinic in Ft. Worth by mid-morning on Wednesday, we will receive confirmation from both the clinic and our agency. 
From there, we will enjoy Christmas knowing that we are one step closer to officially meeting our little ones. Just after the New Year, on January 2nd, we will meet with our doctor to run a couple of tests {blood and otherwise} to confirm that everything is a go. At that point we will learn more specifics about the timeline for our transfer cycle and how to administer the necessary meds. I was definitely hoping we could get everything rolling before Christmas, but we’ll certainly have an exciting start to the new year!
We would definitely appreciate your prayers  this Tuesday as our little ones make their way to us. Once they arrive I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂
I hope your Christmas season has been full of the love & joy of Christ and the comfort of family & friends. Thank you all for your incredible support and love; you truly show us Christ and remind us of the joy & importance of “the village.” You are our village, and more importantly, you are our little ones’ village. For that, we will always be thankful!
Merry Christmas!!

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pt. 11 – Hello dear ones!

I’m happy to let you all know that the day we’ve been praying for has come at last…we are officially matched! Yesterday we accepted {and today I reconfirmed, because when you’ve been waiting like this, it feels necessary to double check! Wink!} a match with a family here in Texas who has 4 embryos for us.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago this month we were struggling through the grief of infertility & making the decision not to pursue IVF / biological children. This year has stretched us more than any other…I have been weepy, weak, whiny, fearful…but God has been gracious, patient, strong, and all things good in just this incredible abundance. He has taught me so much through our experiences with infertility, adoption, and embryos…and I know more than ever that I can trust Him with my everything. {How exciting is it that soon our ‘everything’ will include 4 little embryos!} The song that my heart keeps singing is “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy praise…” He is so good!

The big question on everyone’s mind is…”So what’s next?!”

We are currently waiting for the official contract to be drawn up for us to sign/notarize. {Our genetic family will do the same…} Because embryos are covered under property law, it won’t be necessary for us to go through any further legal proceedings.

After a bit of paperwork clearing everything with both our fertility doctor & theirs, the shipment will be scheduled to move the embryos to our clinic. They will travel in a special FedEx truck {go ahead, you can laugh!} on an overnight trip that we will cover in prayer. It is kind of comical that a FedEx driver is being added to our list of “How many people does it take to help Heather & Chris have a baby?” Ha! 🙂

From there I begin the medical portion, and if everything clicks along then we could potentially have a transfer scheduled for sometime in December!

Our joy is made so much more full by being able to share this experience with you all. Thank you again for all of your prayers & support leading up to this point…and praise God for answered prayers!

Prayer Requests as we move forward…
~ For our genetic family {I need to come up with a better nickname for them}…from what I hear, they are very excited for us. 🙂 They have been incredibly cooperative and patient with us through the additional bloodwork our doctor requested, and they even sent us updated pictures of their boys so we can see more of what their family looks like. Please pray strength, peace, and blessings over them as they take the final steps to place their embryos with Chris & I.

~The contract phase / God’s timing

~Chris as he continues to look for a new job. Lots of prospects & several interviews, so we’re thankful for that. The idea of a baby/ies while the timeline of his job is uncertain is stressful for him, to say the least. God’s provision in our lives has been clear though, so we’re trying to keep the faith & trust that where God leads, He will provide!

~For those that we come in contact with who are considering embryo adoption. I’ve had the blessing to share our story with someone who has embryos they are considering placing, and would love the opportunity to share this option with others.

If you have any questions about what’s coming next or how it works, please feel free to ask me. We don’t mind them at all! Thank you for sharing in our lives & this adventure. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll be e-mailing again soon with a request to pray over the shipment of our snowflakes!

Much love and blessings,
Heather

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pt. 10 – Hello dear ones!

It has been quite a while since I’ve written you all…I believe my last e-mail was at the end of June. In the 4+ months we’ve been in matching, it has turned out to be a lot of “hurry up and wait.” {Not my favorite thing ever, as you all know!}

Our journey through matching has been an interesting one…a lot more ups and downs than I was expecting. In all, our profile was shown to 6 couples. Of those, 1 couple said no, 1 couple was taking a really long time to make a decision {so we withdrew}, and 4 said yes to us. Of the 4 who said yes, we declined 2 because of a high number of embryos, and our doctor said 1 set of embryos was not transferable due to FDA regulations. {Weird, I know.}

So, if you’ve been doing the math, you know that leaves one match that said yes to us. That brings us back to where we are right now. Our initial thoughts of this couple and their 4 embryos were that they very much appear to fit exactly what we’ve been praying for. In the days since, we’ve continued to feel a peace about moving forward with this match.

On Friday the information regarding the embryos was sent to our fertility doctor to review. We were told that he will be going out of town on Tuesday and will be gone for a week. While his opinion is not the final word, it is important that we hear what he thinks about the embryos, because he has access to different information than we do.

I’m writing you today to ask if you will please join us in praying that a) the doctor will review the information and get back with us tomorrow {Monday} and b) that he will be pleased with the embryos. If he has reservations we will have to consider the reasoning behind them and how that fits in with the calling God has placed on us. We, with God’s leading and direction, will make the final decision on whether or not to move forward with this match. So please pray for us as well, as we seek God for confirmation on our next steps.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. I can’t wait to one day tell our little one{s} just how loved they were from so early on. I’ll be in touch soon with an update and new set of prayer requests. 🙂

Much love & blessings,

Heather

P.S. – http://youtu.be/MjmZ2v0niCI Here’s a link to the newest song I’ve been listening to on loop….”Strangely Dim” by Francesca Battistelli. Please let me know if there’s any way we can be lifting you all up in prayer!

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pt 9 – Hello dear ones!

How is already the last day of June?! I’ve had a wonderful summer so far…not too busy, plenty of time to nap and read {two of my favorite things!}, and lots of sweet time with family & friends. Our family has grown since my last e-mail…my little brother got married! 🙂 We were happy for Jessica to officially become part of our family, and celebrated their marriage this past weekend with a beautiful ceremony and reception.

We’ve had many questions this month about how things are going on the adoption front, and the answer is almost always the same…we’re still waiting!

We did have the opportunity to consider another match. However, once our doctor was able to review the information regarding the embryos, he let us know that we would not be able to move forward because they did not qualify for donation/adoption under FDA regulations. Although we are honestly still a little unclear as to exactly why that was the case, with the help of the agency we were able to understand a bit more and are thankful for the checks and balances that are in place.

While there was some disappointment, Chris and I both felt okay with re-entering matching. This last match possibility got us closer to some of the specifics we’ve been praying for, but didn’t come with the strong conviction that these were the embryos God intended for us.

So, as we wait, here are some of the things we are praying about…

*Our doctor / his office: When considering this last match, I felt a lot of frustration with the interaction/communications I had with my point of contact at the doctors office. As we move forward, we are ‘checking in with God’ to make sure this is the doctor we need to be working with.

*For a graceful waiting: I’ve been less than graceful more than once throughout the past month when it came to waiting…especially when it came to waiting for the doctor to review the embryo information and get back with us. I needed the reminder that all of this should be pointing back to the glory of God…and that the match God has for us will be in His timing. It’s pretty much a daily battle of laying down self, and some days more than others I fail at it pretty miserably. My prayers in this area go back and forth between thanking God for His mercy and love, and asking Him for His strength and help to chill it out.

*Our match: More than praying for specifics, please pray that Chris & I together will have the discernment and conviction to know when we have found the match that is in the center of God’s perfect will. When that time comes, our prayer is that we will put away any fear and trust fully as we step out in faith for the next phase of this adventure God is taking us on.

*Chris’ job: Many of you know that Chris’ office is going to be shut down, most likely within the next year or so. He has started the search for a new job, and even had the opportunity to interview for the first time in almost 10 years. 🙂 Uncertainties regarding how long his current job will last and finding a new job play into our adoption anxieties, so for Chris especially it is a pretty constant struggle to trust and have peace. He’s looking for an IT position, so just tuck that away and let us know if you hear of anything!

I just finished reading a book called “Kisses from Katie,” by Katie Davis. {It was really good, for those of you who are looking for a summer read!} I was so challenged and encouraged by her story, and some of the lessons she learned as she sought to follow after God resonated deeply with me. I thought I’d leave you all today with the final paragraph from her book. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support…I know each one of you has your own struggles and joys, so it means a lot to know that you would take a moment to join with Chris and I as we seek Christ’s plan for growing our family. To Him be the glory!

“A year later I can say, ‘Yes, this year has been the hardest yet. Really, though, it has also been the best. And I would do it all again if He asked me to.’ Because faithful God did not let go of our hands. I am young and I know that the most difficult times are not behind us. But as I rest in Him and draw near I am learning much and I am remembering that I am one of His favorites. And even in the middle of a storm, even when I can’t see the good yet, He can. And He is looking at me with a twinkle in His eye, just waiting to surprise.” ~Katie Davis.

Much love & blessings,

Heather

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pt 8 –  Hello dear ones!

I’ve had it on my to-do list to write you guys all week…the end of a school year is just a crazy time for everyone though, huh? 🙂 I hope this e-mail finds you well and growing in the Lord!

It’s been a couple of weeks since our big {and I mean BIG} garage sale to raise money for our adoption fund. I still shake my head in amazement, praise God for His mighty work, and have a heart filled with gratitude when I think about it. Before the sale, I was praying that God would show up & show off…and He did! He worked through so many people – friends, family, coworkers, strangers – to bless us with items to sell, prayers, donations toward our fund, buy the treasures we had, and set up / run / clean up everything. It was an incredible experience, and we were so humbled to be on the receiving end. Through God’s provision & so many people being His hands and feet, we raised enough money to cover the remaining adoption expenses, our legal fees, and to start saving toward the medical fees we will need for the embryo transfer. Truly a miracle & all for God’s glory!

Last e-mail I asked you to be praying for us as we entered the matching phase. Like so many times throughout this process, I want to tell you that God is hearing your prayers and working in our lives.

A few days before Mother’s Day, after being in matching for one week & a day, we received our first potential match e-mail. It was an incredibly surreal moment, knowing that a family had chosen us to adopt their embryos. We were able to view their family profile, pictures, medical history, and had our doctor review information regarding the set of embryos. Because embryo adoption is uncharted territory for us, it was also quite the learning experience. We had to sort through a new set of emotions, set boundaries regarding who we would/wouldn’t tell about the possibility of a match, weigh the odds our doctor gave us against our conviction that these were the embryos God had for us…the first 24 hours were a bit overwhelming for sure!

In the end, we just never felt a clear conviction / peace that these were the embryos God would have us to move forward with…so we denied the match and opted to re-enter matching. Additionally, we spoke with the agency and lowered the # of embryos we are willing to match with in the future. Part of our purpose in pursuing embryo adoption was to honor these little lives…and we felt uncertain about our ability to give all 7 of the embryos from this particular match a chance at further life.

Of course, declining a match opened up a new set of emotions {which largely included “Are we crazy?!”} but our God was good and worked again to settle our hearts and focus our eyes on Him.

Sooooo….all of this is to say, our prayers for the match God has for us are truly at work in “real time.” It is highly likely that a new family is currently viewing our profile at this time.

Please join us in praying for…

*Our agency as they set up potential matches with genetic families

* The families who view our profile {some families are not open to us at this time because I will have to continue working once we have a baby…I’m praying that, if they are the family God has for us, their hearts would be softened toward considering us!}

* Discernment when we are presented with a potential match, for both us and our doctor

* For the babies God has for us! Specifics regarding the embryos would be…
– a set of around 4 embryos
– that the genetic mother’s age would be close to mine {preferably that she would have been 35 or younger at time of IVF}
– that the embryos would have only been frozen for a short period of time {preferably less than about 4 years}
– that the embryos will be strong and have a healthy family medical history

We recognize that when God is at work, odds and percentages and all of those ‘specifics’ mean nothing compared to His sovereignty. Chris & I have agreed that once we have a strong conviction from the Lord, we will be ready to move forward with the match. We are praying for our doctor as well, as he gives us his professional opinion on potential matches. We believe he is a strong doctor and will speak candidly with us, but we recognize that he does not ‘understand’ why we are pursuing this route to grow our family {rather than seeking IVF ourselves}. Please pray that we can testify to Chris & glorify what God is doing to our doctor and his staff throughout this process.

Additionally, Chris and I feel strongly about being good stewards of what God has given/will give us…the embryos, agencies/doctors time, financial funds, etc. The desire to honor God in that regard will definitely take discernment on our part, so please pray specifically in this area as well.

Thank you all so much for joining with us to pray for our adoption. It has been incredible to be witness God at work in such a mighty way, and we feel so humbled and blessed to have so many loved ones interceding on our behalf.

How can we be praying for YOU?

Much love & blessings,
Heather

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pt. 7 – Hello there dear ones!

I feel so excited about sharing more specifics with y’all about the type of adoption we are following God in. While some of you have known about the doors God has been opening over the last 3 months or so, most of you have been praying without knowing all the details. For your prayers and support, we continue to thank all of you!

When we felt God’s call to join Him in the work He does through adoption, Chris & I {along with our families} were able to come to a place of excitement and joy. I can name the exact moment that I surrendered myself & God’s plan for my body / for growing our family {it’s a funny story; ask me about it sometime!}, and He truly poured peace into our hearts as we let go of the ‘plans’ we had for raising biological children.

As you all know, we were taking steps toward pursuing traditional infant adoption earlier this year. I mentioned in an e-mail back in February that God was potentially opening a new door for us, and that God was responding to all of our prayers in wild and mind boggling ways.

It was only after God spoke to Chris’ heart through something he heard on the internet that we began to consider, and ultimately choose, to step out in faith and pursue embryo adoption.

If you are anything like us, embryo adoption is probably not something you’ve heard of or are familiar with. {Trust me, the word ’embryo’ has become a big part of our vocabulary lately!}

The basics are this…

*The embryos are created, by God’s hand, through invitro fertilization. We believe that embryos, as eggs that have been fertilized, are the first stage of human life. Each embryo, even at that stage, is already ‘hard coded’ with a unique DNA.

*Couples who pursue IVF at times have embryos remaining when they are finish seeking fertility treatments. There are generally four options for those embryos: frozen storage, donation to science, disposal, or donation/adoption. Currently there are over 600,000 frozen embryos in the United States alone.

*A growing trend for parents of those embryos is to choose to place them for adoption, through agencies like Nightlight Christian Adoptions. It is a beautiful way to honor sanctity of life, and allows the genetic parents to have a hand in choosing the family who will receive the embryos. {Click the link to read more about our agency & embryo adoption if you’d like!}

What it will look like for us…

*We have completed our home study and written our family profile for genetic families to view. We expect to enter the ‘matching phase’ by May 1st. While in matching, our agency will show our profile to families who have embryos available for adoption. When a family feels that we would be a good match for them, we will get to see their profile and receive specific information on the embryos. At that point, we will get to decide whether we would like to move forward with the match. It’s very similar to traditional adoption in this way.

*Once we are matched with a family, we will take care of the legal/shipping/medical aspects to adopt a set of embryos {dependent on how many the family has to place.} We would then move forward with our fertility specialist to complete a frozen embryo transfer.

One of the most amazing and humbling aspects of embryo adoption is that, Lord willing, I will have the opportunity to carry our baby/babies! It leaves me in complete awe of God’s power and goodness… {Yes, there IS a chance of multiples. There is also a chance that through multiple transfers and pregnancies our children would be biological siblings!}

{Obviously the desire of our heart is to be blessed with a baby. As you’ve probably figured out, there are risks involved…and there is the possibility that the transfer/s might not result in a continued pregnancy. We (okay, especially ME, in particular) are learning even more so to trust and lean on God in new ways…His will, not ours. We are going to walk in faith and belief until God either blesses us with a baby or shows us a new step in His plan.}

Because our child(ren) will not be biologically related to either of us, we felt a strong conviction to take the route of adoption. Embryos are actually covered under property law {breaks my heart!}, which means that legally it is a transfer of property, not an adoption. Everything we read and considered, as Christians, led us to understand that because embryos are human life, we must value & treat them as such. Our agency shares that belief.

Another reason we chose adoption {over anonymous donation} is because it will allow us to establish an open line of communication with the genetic parents. At this point in time we don’t know exactly what that will look like, but it should at minimum allow us access to our child’s genetic/family medical history and contact information.

Our children will be raised knowing that they joined our family through adoption, and we look forward {as all parents do, I’m sure!} to telling them of God’s great glory & plan for them and our family.

I’ll stop there, otherwise I’ll just keep going and going! I’m open to you asking any questions you might have…it can boggle the mind at first!

Please join us in praying for…

*The matching phase / genetic families who have the opportunity to consider us

*The hearts of those we share this with…to God be the glory!

*The embryos God has for us {I’ll plan on sending out more specific embryo prayer requests in my next e-mail!}

*Our fundraising garage sale on May 2 & 3

Thank you so, so much to those of you who have donated to the garage sale…our garage is overflowing! 🙂

I recently heard David Platt speak on the privilege we have in praying for one another. He said “Intercession is the means by which we participate in the daily activity of God in other peoples lives.” For your participation in my daily life & in that of Chris’, through your prayers…my deepest, most sincere thanks.

God is moving, God is good, and God is knocking down walls!

Much love & blessings,

Heather

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pt. 6 – Hello there dear ones!
It’s been almost a month since my last update, and it’s definitely been a busy one! At the time of that last e-mail, we had settled on an agency and had just received our home study packet & to-do’s. Today I’m writing to ask for your continued prayers because our home study interview has been scheduled for THIS Sunday!

 For those that are unfamiliar with the home study process, this past month we’ve been gathering all of our official documents {birth / marriage certificates, passports}, references, proof of insurance, tax returns, vet records, medical checkups…we even had to measure our house and draw out a floor plan! We both had to be fingerprinted {twice!} and had to provide information for an additional background check. Annnnnnnd of course there was the questionnaire, which started out as a 19 page document.

I’ve been so thankful for God’s timing throughout this part of the process. Because I received the instructions at the start of Spring Break, we were able to knock out a big part of the gathering / fingerprinting pretty quickly. When our social worker contacted us about scheduling our home study, I was thankful again when she mentioned that Sunday evening was a possibility. {I’m trying to save as many days at work as possible for when our baby gets here, so it’s great not to have to take a day off!}

When the social worker comes on Sunday, we are expecting her to take a brief tour of our house. {We don’t have to have everything baby-ready or even completely baby-proofed at this time, but we will talk with her about those plans.} A few things we know she will be looking for are smoke alarms and that Chris’ guns are locked up…thankfully he had made some extra money this month and was able to buy a small gun safe! After that we’ll sit down for our interviews…both together and separately. All together it should only take a couple of hours…if I can keep Chris from completely talking her ear off. *wink*

From there, she will type up the study, and I’m praying that we’ll have everything finalized and turned into the agency by Easter. In the meantime, I’ll be working on our family profile {pictures, autobiographies, letter to the placing family, etc.} and once all of that is turned in we’ll be ready to enter the matching phase! Yay!

{And that is the ‘Cliff Notes’ version of a home study. Ha!}

I’m looking forward to a time when I can share more freely with you all about the specifics surrounding our agency & adoption plans…until then, please know that we covet your prayers and appreciate each of you so much. Your prayers are being heard by God, and He is actively responding and answering them in our lives as we grow our family.

After reading my updates, y’all know that music speaks to me and has been a big part of this journey. The latest lyrics stuck in my mind and heart are from Francesca Battistelli’s “Be Born In Me.” Part of the song says ‘I am not brave, I’ll never be. The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy. I’m just a girl, nothing more…but I am willing, and I am yours.’

God has been helping me to lay down the fear I had started to feel regarding His specific adoption plan for us. My prayer continues to be that He will receive all glory for the work He is doing, no matter the outcome or length of the process, and that I would trust in the peace and direction He has given us.

He is a good, good God…and I’ll be praying that each of you is able to see and experience and rest in His goodness today.

Prayer Requests for the next few weeks…

~ Home study interview {this Sunday afternoon!}

~ For the families who will be viewing our profile within a month or so, that God would prepare their hearts {and ours!}

~ That our {my, specifically} fear would be only that of God, in reverence & awe of His work…not fear that keeps us from glorifying or trusting Him

~ And always, for our baby

Garage Sale update…

~ The garage sale has been set for May 3rd…donations are starting to pour in! I’m praying it is a successful way to share our adoption plans & Christ with the community and to raise money to help us with our fee schedule along the way. If you have any treasures you’d like to donate just let me know!

Much Love & Blessings,

Heather

P.S. – Thanks to my sweet friend Alesha {A Work of A.R.T Photography} for taking our “We’re Adopting!” / family profile pictures! If you live in the area and are ever in need of a photographer, let me know & I’ll get you her contact info! 🙂

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pt. 5 – Hello there dear ones!

I am so happy to report to you all that we have set the gears in motion…looks like phase 2 of this adoption journey will be filled with checklists, forms, references, background checks, and lots & lots of questions to be answered {this time, on our part!}

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and words of encouragement last weekend as we attended the orientation for Christian Homes in Abilene. Our experience there was wonderful; the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and the other hopeful couples were a blessing. {It’s always neat to meet and talk with others who have faced similar struggles as you, or who are pursuing a similar hope/dream!}

Throughout the 2-day orientation, a *lot* of information was presented regarding specifics to their agency, domestic infant adoption, and the legal side of adoption. Our favorite part of the weekend were the ‘panels.’ We were able to hear from/talk with adult adoptees, families who had adopted within the last six months or so, and birthmothers. In each group, I couldn’t help but see the strength of each person who shared their story with us…it was just very moving and challenging.

With all of that being said, it might surprise you to read that we have been led in a different direction than Christian Homes. Our heart is not closing to them completely, and one day down the road God might open that door for us. If He does, we will be more than happy to work with such an established and Christ-centered agency…and we would definitely recommend them to anyone who is considering infant adoption!

Excitedly, we will be working with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which is the nationally based adoption agency out of California. We have sent in the first part of our application, and are now working toward gathering the rest of the documents they’ll need from us. Just today we received the packet of information we’ll need to complete our ‘adoption home study,’ so that’s the next big to-do. We are hoping that we can wrap up this part of the process by Easter, and are thankful for the timing…spring break is a great time for me to get a jump start on all of the paperwork. 🙂

Through all of this, God has been opening doors that we literally never knew existed. Throughout my prayers over the last 7 months, there have been several themes. One was that God would speak clearly to Chris as the head of our home as to which direction we should go…and He did. Another was that God would lead us on the path that would *most* glorify Him in our lives…and I truly believe that He has. As we progress further in this process and are able to tell you all more of what God is up to, my prayer is that we will reflect a wildly mind-boggling and truly incredible side of the God we serve.

God IS answering prayers in our lives and this situation; thank you again for your part in that as you prayerfully join us.

I’m reminded today of how *good* God is. He was good the day of Chris’ wreck. He was good the day we were told biological children were highly unlikely. He was good in those dark days of mourning. He continues to be good as we experience the newfound joys of our adoption calling. And He will be good as we move forward…no matter what turns and dips the path takes. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout this season of life is that ALL things that come from the hand of my Savior are meant for my good, are meant to make me more like Him. I am learning to willingly take what He offers, even when I feel terrified, when it looks painful, when it’s not what I want…because I trust Him…because He is what I want.

I could go on and on…but for now I’ll stop. 🙂 I’d love to talk about it with you more if you’d like.

Prayer requests for the next couple of weeks…

~ The home study & application process…

~ Our agency, social workers & others we will be working with throughout this process

~ My health; particularly related to struggles related to my PCOS diagnosis

~ Our little one!

Other ways you can help…

~ As we start paying for different parts of the process, I’m hoping to get our garage sale scheduled…probably early April. If you have “treasures” you wouldn’t mind donating, just let me know & I’ll make arrangements to get them from you!

Much love & blessings,
Heather

P.S. – I’ve got another song to share with you that relates to the lessons God has been teaching me…listen all the way through for a message from John Piper that I pray will speak to you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUPz6_TciY

pt. 4 Hello again dear ones!
It’s been 3 weeks or so since my last update…2 of those weeks were filled with lots of research and questions, as we worked through the new agency/option that has been presented; this last week we’ve taken a break of sorts from much adoption talk, my brain occupied by kindergarteners and the Olympics instead. 🙂 I can already feel the rush of spring upon us…it always seems to be such a busy time of year, doesn’t it?
Our orientation is coming up, which we are looking forward to very much. The other agency that we are considering is more nationally based and is located in California. We likely won’t ever visit them in person, but have been e-mailing frequently and have found them to be very helpful and encouraging. Both have been helping build families through adoption for decades, with upstanding reputations and a heart for fulfilling God’s command to care for orphans.   We plan on making a final decision regarding which agency to go with after our meetings, and from there we should be able to get the ball rolling on our paperwork, home study, and more!
We are feeling relieved and excited that the first ‘leg’ of our journey to adoption is nearing it’s end. Undoubtedly, the last 7 months have been among the most challenging of our lives…we’ve been broken, but our God is faithful and He has built us back up, stronger and more like Him than before. We know that we aren’t promised an easy road as we respond to His call to adopt, but I’m thankful as we enter a new stage of the process we can rest in God’s peace & know that nothing we encounter will be a surprise to Him, nor will anything be outside of His gracious hand.
Prayer Requests for the next couple of weeks…
~ Our orientation…for traveling mercies & discerning hearts
~ Strength & courage to step out fully in faith as we decide on an agency
~ My fear & anxieties {God has already been working on this, which is a praise!}
~ And always, the baby God has for us!
I appreciate all of your prayers & for the well wishes we’ve received. Since adoption was something unfamiliar and relatively unexplored by us before September, we’ve had a bit of a learning curve as we worked our way through what it might look like and mean for our family. Through that process, we have both been able to learn from others who have already been blessed by adoption…from children, to families who are waiting to adopt or are caring for foster children, to adults who were adopted as children, to families who were formed by adoption and are now thriving. A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed speaking to a sweet lady from my church who adopted her son nearly 40 years ago, and was amazed at how closely she and I could relate to the feelings, struggles, hopes and fears of parents who face infertility and then hope to adopt.
On the flip side, we’ve also been able to share with others who don’t have much background with it what God says about adoption, what our options are, and what misconceptions exist. I’ve been learning how openness can dispel fears, how the ‘hurtful’ words of others often come from a place of misunderstanding, and how God provides many ways for His followers to ‘care for orphans’ {James 1:27}…be it through adoption/foster care, prayer support, financial support, or the simple act of opening your heart and mind to learning more about adoption and how it relates to you. {I’ve included an attachment that I found through Focus on the Family that is a great resource for friends & family of those who have/are adopting if you are interested in checking it out!}
Forgive me for my wordiness…I’ve just been so blessed to see the body of Christ alive and at work in our lives throughout this process. You all are a part of that, in your commitment to pray for us and in your interest in our journey to growing our family. For that I say THANKS! 🙂
Much love & blessings,
Heather

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Pt. 3 – Hello everyone!   Brrr! Hope everyone is all snuggled in today…this Texas weather is crazy!

Chris and I have had a wild weekend…traveled to his parents in east Texas on Friday evening, spent most of the day Saturday completing our CPR / First Aid courses {yay for a sister & brother-in-law who are certified instructors!}, then drove back late last night to avoid messy weather only to have Chris up most of the night with a stomach bug. So needless to say, we’re taking it pretty easy today! 🙂

Music has been a big part of my journey through infertility, trusting God to grow our family, being able to walk by faith, and ultimately to finding ‘joy in the journey.’ Last night, a new song spoke to my heart in a beautiful way. It’s called “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns.

 Hearing this song immediately took me back to 4 months ago…when I was in the eye of our storm…and then caused me to remember and rejoice in all of the beauty and growth He has ‘painted with the ashes’ in the time since.

 One line in particular really resonated with me…and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it captures what God has done in Chris’ & my life through these experiences. “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.” The struggle is part of the story, and I can see more and more the amazing story God has been weaving together in our lives.

 Things are definitely falling into place. 🙂

 This next weekend we have our orientation with Christian Homes in Abilene. We are excited & looking forward to learning more about this agency & adoption, especially since we know several sweet families who have been brought together through this organization.

 At the same time, God has laid another adoption option on our heart. We aren’t sharing it just quite yet…waiting to see for sure what God is up to and doing our research…plus lots of soul searching & talking it through. I know praying for “unspokens” can be hard, but my purpose in mentioning it to you all as our ‘prayer circle’ is because Chris & I are whole-heartedly seeking God for HIS will and plan…and we can use all the prayers we can get. 🙂

 The call to adopt remains our heartbeat, and however God works this out, we know it will be amazing & will bring Him total glory. Thank you all again for joining us in prayer…we feel them, and I truly believe that some of the prayers we have joined together in bringing to God’s feet are what has helped open this new door. I look forward to the day when I can share with you even just a piece of what your prayers have accomplished for His kingdom & in our lives!

 Prayer Requests for the next couple of weeks…

~ Traveling mercies & open hearts / ears as we attend our orientation in Abilene this weekend…

~ For God to settle a peace deep into our bones about which adoption path He has for us at this time…

~ For our parents & siblings as they too are walking this path with us…

 I’ve heard from a few of you about what God is up to in your lives right now, as well as prayer requests that you have on your heart. I’d love to join in praying for YOU, so please don’t hesitate to e-mail me back…or call…or text…or facebook me. Living life together is what God calls us to do as the body of Christ…so thank you for being a part of my life!

 Much love & blessings, Heather

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Pt. 2 – Hello there dear ones!

During my own times of personal prayer over the last several months, I’ve learned that praying for an adoption can be…challenging. At it’s core, adoption involves trauma. With the placement, a mother (and father) experience the loss of the opportunity to raise their child. A baby experiences the loss of a familiar heartbeat & voices…of the family with which they share a genetic connection. The adoptive parents may have gone through the trauma of infertility or a failed adoption…and almost always face waiting periods of uncertainty & fear.

 “A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” ~Jody Landers

For that reason, I’ve been reminded of how important it is that I continually seek the heart and will of God while praying for our adoption. It isn’t about wanting a baby at any cost; it’s about wanting the baby that God would entrust to us to raise, while respecting the process & people involved.

 And so, in that spirit, God burdened my heart for my baby’s birthmother. I thought of her again today as we watched a video for ‘Sanctity of Life’ at my parent’s church. I haven’t even met her yet…but I want people to understand that, by choosing life, she is demonstrating an incredible love for our baby. Her love will be demonstrated again when she chooses to place her baby for adoption…a love for which I will always be thankful. My prayers are with her, wherever she is, and I pray that yours will be as well.

Prayer requests for the next couple of weeks…

~ Sanctity of life…on global & national levels, as it pertains to our communities, for those you have contact with, etc.

~ Our birthmother / family … praying specifically that when the time comes, she would have support in her decision to choose life & that God would give her peace, rest, and joy in the decision to do so.

~ Traveling mercies as we drive to do our CPR course in a couple of weeks, and as we drive to our orientation in February

~ Me…between struggles work & navigating planning for an adoption, life is feeling quite out of control. I’ve been dealing with the adoption aspects pretty well, but adding work stresses on top has been difficult for me.

It is important to remember that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are rescued.

I am so thankful for the love God demonstrates for me…for you…when He rescues us from our sin & graciously adopts each of us who accepts Jesus Christ.

 I am thankful for each of you {and your prayers} as well. God doesn’t call each person to adopt, but because His heart is for adoption, ours should be as well…your prayer support glorifies Him & where He is working.

Much love & blessings,

Heather

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Part 1 – Hello dear family & friends…

I feel so humbled and honored to be writing this e-mail to each of you. To know we have these prayer circles in our lives…family, close friends, friends who have been touched by adoption, friends from our amazing church, friends we grew up knowing…it is incredible the love and encouragement I feel just knowing that you all were welcome to receive updates and prayer requests from Chris & I as we step out in faith and follow God’s call to adoption for our family.

We’ve had the chance to speak with most all of you personally about the circumstances in our life that God has used for good & as revelations of His plan for us. When we were married 3 1/2 years ago, we knew that infertility would probably be a battle we would face. To actually live it…whew. This past fall was a dark time for us, particularly me, as we made big decisions, faced spiritual warfare, and struggled to say “Your will be done Lord”…and mean it. We were mourning the very real possibility of not having a biological child; it was the loss of a dream…of an assumed future.

 “In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect & right will.” ~ Ann Voskamp

 Around November, God began to call us out of our mourning and put a new joy in our heart for adoption. Even at that point, we could see how God had been preparing us “for such a time as this”… even as far back as elementary-aged Christopher, who talked about ‘wanting to adopt a hundred special needs kids.’ We had people who have ties with adoption come alongside us, offering wisdom & encouragement as we faced a new battle…of fears and what if’s…of can-we-really-do-this?!

 “You call out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. … Your grace abounds in deepest waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide. … So I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves.” ~Oceans, by Hillsong United

 God confirmed His plan for us over and over…in many ways. So it was with excitement that we settled on an agency we’d like to work with, ChristianHomes out of Abilene, and sent off our pre-application. In the time since, we’ve been busy: reading about adoption, saving money, cleaning / preparing the house for our home-study and a nursery one day, taking an on-line class, talking {and talking, and talking} everything through…in general dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s.

And praying. Lots of praying.

That’s where you come in. We covet your prayers as we begin the adoption process, which is still obviously in the very early stages. We have been invited to an orientation with the agency in early February, so until then we won’t have much new news.

Things you can be praying for at this point are…

~ for continued emotional healing in our life post-infertility

~ for Chris as he finishes the on-line parenting class that is required

~ to prepare our hearts & minds for the February orientation

~ and always, always for the baby God has planned to become our child

 “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.” ~Oceans, by Hillsong United

 Thank you again, dear ones. I pray that your faith would be made stronger as you become a part of our baby’s testimony through the gift and blessing of your prayers.

Much love & blessings,

Heather

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