Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Miracle

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.

Proverbs 13:12

It has taken me almost a month to post about this...I just am at a loss for words! It is hard for me to put into words the joy, and happiness our family has experienced over the last few weeks. It is with a thankful heart that is bursting with joy that I can finally announce - we are a family of FOUR! On December 5th I recieved a phone call from our social worker around 12:30 in the afternoon. He asked if I was ready for an early Christmas present??? My heart almost beat out of my chest as he told me to call Ryan and meet him at the hospital as soon as possible. A little boy had been born two days earlier and his birth parents were considering an adoption. They had not signed the termination papers, so this was an "at risk" placement. Ryan and I met this sweet little angel, and it was most definitely love at first sight! That is when the fun began....we had 45 minutes to race to Target to buy a carseat, blankets, clothes, diapers, wipes, formula...everything! Thankfully we had amazing family and friends who quickly came to our rescue and brought all of the nessecities to help us through that first night! We had nothing...partly because we were not prepared at all for a placement that quickly and also because I didnt want to stare at baby things for months and months before we were matched, it was too painful. We brought our sweet little boy home around 5:30 that Monday evening! Talk about a whirlwind!
The next day, we went back to the agency to meet the birthparents and hopefully to get the TPR signed so that we could breathe! Their story is another post in itself...but the short version is that this was not a typical adoption placement at all. They are married, and have five children at home, they are incredibly poor, no phone, no car, and no means to care for another child. My heart absolutely ached for them. Despite their choices, I truly believe they are good people and they LOVE their children. It was heart wrenching watching them make the hardest, most selfless decision of their life. Ryan and I both loved them, and we pray for them daily. After a few hours, we left with the baby (still no TPR signed) and finally received a call that they both signed the termination papers late that afternoon. It was definitely mixed emotions of joy for us and agony for them. (More on them later)
He was ours!!!
Chandler Henry Farrell has been an absolute blessing and a gift from GOD! We love him so much and he is such a perfect fit for our family. God's plan is breathtaking.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am sharing this from one of my favorite blogs (Share Adoption with Mama J) ...these are my thoughts EXACTLY.

I know, it's crazy isn't it? I can't believe it myself I was not going to put it on here but wanted to make it official............ I mean who would have guessed that I'm expecting!!................... yup it's official.................. we are expecting Christmas in just over 6 weeks!!!! Re-post if you have any sense of humor!

I don't know about you all, but I have a witty sense of humor! With that being said, I do not find the above post to be funny. Even though I didn't give birth to my daughter, I feel that my husband and I "beat infertility!" I have no desire to get pregnant because I'm at complete peace with what my body can't do because my God can and did better than my body. With this being said, it doesn't mean that the post above never upset me. I will never forget when my friend's teenage sister posted the above status and the way it made my heart feel for the quick second that I thought she was expecting another baby.

Give or take a is estimated that one in six couples are affected by some degree of infertility. If I did my math correct, if you have around 200 friends, you have 33 friends who suffer from some degree of infertility. So the next time you think you are being funny or posting a harmless joke, please stop and think about the friends you might be hurting. The friends who are longing to become parents who have a hard enough time with pregnancy announcements (add the Holiday season to the pain of wanting a child) don't need to be "punched in the gut" with jokes about EXPECTING!

The next time you see the above status, instead of re-posting it, please share a link to my blog post instead! You never know whose heart(s) you will be sparing this holiday season.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Different Trips to the Same Place

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You’ve heard it’s a wonderful place. You’ve read many guidebooks and feel certain you’re ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you’ll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait-and wait- and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, “Relax. You’ll get on a flight soon.” Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, “It’s not fair”.

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat.”

“By Boat!” you say, “Going by boat will take a very long time and costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane.” So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite that you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, “Oh be glad you didn’t fly. My flight was horrible, traveling by sea is so easy.”

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

-Author Unknown

I have come across this story on several adoption sites and blogs that I read. It is SUCH a perfect metaphor for this journey we are on. Currently, we are waiting at the airport, getting ready to head to the port to take a boat. And, I can assure you, we are not getting pampered. Sometimes the waiting results in more decision making...which boat do we take? One offers a quicker start to the trip, but the other offers a little more peace of mind and a little cheaper price for the fare. We are stuck. And I hate being stuck. But I also know that our God is in control, He has our trip planned. There is something about having a plan that helps me be at peace with whatever I am facing. This trip, adoption, has many bumps along the way. No one rubs your belly, tells you that you are glowing, asks how you're doing in your paper pregnancy, sends you expectant parent cards, or dreams about your little one with you. For the time you are waiting indefinitely, you may be alone, depending on who you choose to share your journey with. I think this lack of support can also make the boat ride a little less appealing than the plane ride. No one likes to be lonely at sea! But, I do believe we will get to Australia. I do think I will look back at our bumpy, LONG trip on the sea and be so grateful for all it brought us. Holding that in mind, and with our strong faith in His plan, I may be able to survive the ride without jumping overboard out of frustration, anger and sadness! For now, I guess I will continue to watch others fly back and forth to Australia over and over again, and hope and pray that our day to board the boat and finally set foot in Australia will come...and soon! I know the beauty will be literally breathtaking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Farrell Family Guidelines

I am so blessed to have one of those friends that radiates everything I strive to be. She is an incredible God-fearing mother, wife, daughter and friend, and I truly love being around her. God placed her in my life for a reason, and I am forever grateful for our friendship. She sent me an email today about making family guidelines. This is something the Duggar's practice in their home...and while I have mixed feelings about the fact that they are expecting #20...they are a beautiful family, with wonderful morals and values, and they clearly live for the Lord.
I loved this idea, so much that I wanted to post our family guidelines here, to make me more accountable! Thank you my sweet friend, you always add J.O.Y. and encouragement to my life!

1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well. 

2. Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.

3. Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.

4. Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.

5. Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.

6. Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.

7.Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through (Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose)

8. Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.

9. Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.

10. Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line. The power of sin is in secrecy. 

11. Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.

12. Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, think about such things Romans 13:14 Clothe yourself with the Lord JC, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of sinful nature).

13. Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! (Use Matthew 18.)

14. Never raise a hand to hit.

15. Never raise a foot to kick.

16. Never raise an object to throw.

17. Never raise a voice to yell.

18. Never raise an eye to scowl.

19. Use one toy/activity at a time. Share! 

20. Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.

21. Never let the sun go down on your wrath. 
(Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)

22. Amendment J.O.Y. Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I have decided I really need an uplifting post! I spoke to one of my sweet followers this weekend and she said that she had to get up and close her office door at work because she was sobbing through my last post. Bless her heart! She is pregnant...but still, I dont want to make people feel that way! This process has been an emotional roller coaster, but one thing is for sure, it will be worth it. Going through infertility, and adoption and the lengthy process to bring another sweet addition to our family seems to bring some pretty interesting responses from some people. I have been asked and questioned about using this agency or that agency, IVF, surrogacy, and the list goes on and on. I worry if we are working with the right agency or if we should be using someone else, or if we need to be contracted with more than one agency, or if I should be trying to find my birthmother on my own. Sometimes I feel like I am googling my sweet baby to death! That is when I stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that I am not in control. God knows our plans and he has already orchestrated this sweet child to find our family. It WILL happen.
I am feeling very content this week, I am working through our last failed placement, and I feel certain we are on the right path. God has put a strong calling in my heart to fulfill His plans through adoption, and even when I am questioned, I feel confident that His guidance is leading us to grow our family in this special way.
Last night Ryan and I went to the movies with about 30 members of our church family. We saw the movie, Courageous. It was about four police officers following their calling to serve and protect, and through an unexpected tragedy, they band together to become closer to God and their children. It was an incredible movie! Everyone should see it! Just remember to bring a BOX of tissue....seriously, it is a tearjerker! Protecting the streets was second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous. Ryan said it was one of the best movies that he has ever seen. At that moment, I felt so thankful to be married to my courageous man. At that moment, I felt motivated to be courageous with my journey. Heartbreak is part of the package, but the end result is worth it. I am ready to keep fighting for our family.
As we walked out of the theater, with my make-up smudged all over my face from crying, we ran into our social worker and his wife leaving the movie too, they gave us a big hug, and at that moment I knew that we were working with the right agency, following God's will with his courageous people.
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.” 1 Corinthians 16:12

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It has taken me a few days to decide if I was going to even blog about this. I have decided to sit down at the computer and let the words flow...and then I will decide if I should delete it. On Sept. 21, my last post, I discussed our time of waiting and anxiousness for God's Perfect Timing. The very next day, on Sept. 22, we received a phone call that still has me in a state of shock.
Let me back up to earlier that evening... Charlie had a soccer clinic with the Lady Aggie soccer team on campus from 6:30-7:30. I sat in the bleachers and Ryan walked down on the field as they ran around and practiced drills with the kids. I watched and took pictures and then sat down and started glancing through Facebook on my phone. A status post from our agency quickly made my stomach drop. It said '2 babies will be finding their adoptive families this week!...' My mind started racing, wondering if these babies had already been matched with adoptive families? I couldn't shake the nervous feeling. When we got into the truck after the soccer clinic, I showed Ryan the post and he said....calm down Ashley, I am sure they have already been matched. Once we got home we bathed Charlie and got him to bed. But my mind never stopped thinking about the post I had read earlier. A few minutes later around 9 o clock, Ryan's phone rang. He stood in the kitchen and I heard the words..."Hello Don.." nervously come out of his mouth. Don is our social worker, my body went numb. Ryan told him that we would walk outside and put him on speaker phone. Tears were streaming down my face,Ryan grabbed my hand and we both knew what a phone call after 9 o'clock on a Thursday evening meant...a dream come true?
Don explained that a baby boy was born 2 days earlier, and that he was calling because he thought we might be a match. I can not even describe the feelings that were going through my body. He started to explain details about his birth, birthmom, and birthfather. The situation was certainly not ideal, but with our emotions running high, we agreed to come meet him at the agency. We quickly called my mother-n-law over to stay with Charlie, and we raced up to the agency to possibly meet our son. The car ride was silent, except for my quiet sobs, and we held each others hand as tight as we could. Luckily it is only about a 5 minute drive. When we arrived at the agency we were greeted by our social worker, and the two case managers that work with the birthmothers. We were also greeted by the most precious, sweet, beautiful baby boy. Ryan and I both melted when we saw him, we held him, kissed him, loved on him for a little over an hour while we listened to the scary circumstances he was born into. In our state of shock we asked questions, and voiced concerns, but it seemed like an impossible decision not to adopt this sweet angel. I can not go into the details we learned that night. We have shared some with our family, but even some details only Ryan and I know. We were sent home that evening, at almost 11 o clock to make the hardest decision of our morning. Ryan and I are receptive to a lot of difficult circumstances, we are not going through this adoption process searching for the perfect child, we are seeking the perfect child that is God's will for our family. We know that some of these children do not choose the circumstances they are born into, and just like when women get pregnant they can not choose the health or features of their baby. Our concerns had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that this sweet, innocent baby tested positive for drugs at birth, it had nothing to do with the fact that his mother received no prenatal care. We left the agency with a lot more information that concerned us that night. Information that might put our family's safety in jeopardy. Information that made our decision feel so impossible.
We prayed, and talked, and cried, and prayed, and talked, and cried. I wanted more than anything to be able to go straight to Walmart and stock up on all of our necessities to bring our sweet, precious son home the next day. My mind kept picturing how precious my two boys would be together, and how much Charlie was going to love him. But I knew deep down in my heart, that this wasn't right. It all came down to protecting Charlie, and that sweet boy, and Ryan and I just did not feel like we could risk it. I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to either of our babies just because I wanted him. We prayed for God's will, and Ryan and I both knew this was not it.
I was completely HEARTBROKEN. No other words described the way I was feeling. I would have never in a million years thought we would be turning down a placement. How was this happening? I fell in love with that sweet boy, I held him, kissed him, hugged him....his circumstances were not his fault, he deserved a good home...but I knew it was not God's plan for our family. But I wanted it to be! I wanted to try and forget every detail that our social worker shared with us, I wanted to bring our baby boy home. I sat outside most of the night, long after Ryan went to bed and just cried and grieved for my baby that I didn't even know. Before I knew it, the sun was coming up and I was unable to sleep a wink. The time had come to make the most difficult phone call of our life. Ryan and I both called Don on speaker and explained our hearts and our fears and told him that we would not be going through with this placement. I was HEARTBROKEN. My heart ached for me and for Ryan but most of all for that precious baby boy. How could this be happening? I spent all day Friday in a fog. I have had countless failed fertility procedures and even a miscarriage and nothing has come close to the pain I was feeling.
Saturday morning Don called again to check on me, and to tell me that the baby had found a home with adoptive parents who were thrilled to have him. I was relieved and crushed all at the same time. He assured me that we must follow our instincts and that we were making the right decision for our family. But he knows that following God's will, isn't always easy. It was comforting to know that the sweet, precious innocent baby boy had found such a wonderful home. I had prayed that our no, meant somebody elses yes...and somebody elses dreams had come true. I know that he is in the perfect place that he needs to be. But it doesn't make it any easier on my heart.
I know this was a piece of our journey, it was a learning experience, and our first real glimpse into the heartbreak that sometimes comes along with adoption. Although it feels agonizing, I still feel very blessed to be on this journey, and I know that God will make it clear when His perfect timing prevails.
I will close with the same verse I closed with on my last post...
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HIS Perfect timing

We are now 21 days into our wait....really, only 21 days? Feels SO much longer! I have been struggling a lot lately with our time of waiting. This season of life feels so much different to me compared to all of the other legs of our journey. I was warned this would happen, I was warned that after your home study is completed and life book turned in...that the wait to be matched is the most challenging part. (With the exception of the wait after your child is born and the birthparents sign the termination papers.) While undergoing infertility treatments there is always a short countdown to the next step whether it is going into the office for daily ultrasounds, taking oral meds on certain days, having bloodwork drawn on certain days, giving injections on certain days, taking your temperature, counting ovulation days, recording symptoms, and the list goes on. Generally the last two weeks of each cycle was our longest wait to find out if the treatment was successful, and then the pregnancy tests begin...I had a very unhealthy obsession with pregnancy tests! Lets just say we could have probably paid for our entire adoption with the amount of money I have wasted on pregnancy tests alone! (Don't tell Ryan that!) But with each unsuccessful month, began the cycle of counting and treatments all over again. Then some months my cysts surrounding my ovaries would warrant a break from treatments....those months took forever! With adoption the process has been completely different. The first few months were filled with prayer, adrenaline and excitement as we raced to fill out all of the TONS of forms, questions, meetings, seminar, interviews, safety inspection, fingerprinting, background checks, questions, and more questions, and then the incredibly tedious task of creating the perfect life book of our family, letter to our future birthmother and 21 days ago....we were DONE. Now what? I am longing for our next step.
Our next step is to "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 It is to remain faithful and trusting and "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed" Proverbs 16:3. It is amazing to watch God at work in my heart during this time of waiting. I truly feel I was called to adoption, I know in my heart that our journey through infertility has made that calling louder and opened doors for us to grow our family the way God has called us to. I feel so blessed to be on this journey. But I have struggled in the area of giving over all control to Him. I have struggled knowing that there is nothing tangible left for me to work on. He has already hand picked the child that will join our family. He knows our perfect plan. I know that I "Trust in the Lord with all of your (my) heart and lean not on your (my) own understanding; in all your (my) ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6 The unknown is scary, but God's love has the power to redeem and restore us into confident hope. His Truth cuts to the core of our struggles, bringing purpose to our pain, redemption from our past and hope for our future!
I pray day and night for our sweet birthmother, I pray for her struggle, I pray for her strength and I pray for God to lead us to her. (Soon!) We have cautiously began to prepare for our baby's arrival. In the corner of our bedroom, I stare at the sweet cradle that has been passed through our family and rocked many sweet babies to sleep. Sometimes it brings me hope and in moments of weakness it makes me feel hopeless.

I thank God each day for Charlie, and I do not take a second for granted. He is our miracle and he brings so much joy and laughter to our lives. Our days are filled with picnics at the park, coloring, shaving cream fun, legos, story time at the library, riding bikes with friends, and soccer. He will be such a great big brother and he ends his prayers each night with "God please bring me a sister soon!" I gently remind him that God will decide, and we might get a sister or a brother....but I dont know if you have ever tried to explain something to a four year old...he thinks he knows it all! Regardless, we will all be so thrilled with our new addition.
This post was written more for me than for anyone, blogging can be therapeutic! I had a moment of weakness tonight (it happens...more frequently than I would like to admit!). All of the sudden this evening, my phone went dead. Not just ran out of battery would not turn on, even when I plugged it into my charger...DEAD. I panicked! Silly, I know. Ryan told me just to go to the Apple store in the morning (he is the more stable, practical, rock of the family!). I said...but... what if someone tries to contact us??? He looked at me with those eyes, the eyes that say...I love you, but you are crazy-eyes. I continued in my ridiculousness....what if our birthmom tries to contact us? What if she goes into labor? What if we need to get to the hospital? He then gave me the 'you are nuts-eyes' and we both started laughing. He said that he doubted that would happen, and reminded me that we havent even been matched yet! I know...I know...but still. This adoption process is a roller coaster- filled with uncertainty of when, where, how long we will have to prepare. I took a deep breath, and gathered my sanity, and in the meantime was able to fix my phone!
I reminded myself that it's a good thing God is in control. He knows our perfect plan and our baby will come with HIS perfect timing.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18