Embraced by Love

shutterstock_142134379Embrace Love is a new one-on-one mentoring program that is beginning to blossom for our blooms and her baby. Sweetness and goodness by the spoon-fulls of love is dished out! Literally- lots of sugar and goodies are on the table to enjoy as the blooms and I connect hearts one on one and begin a love encounter with Jesus together.

The thoughts began to swirl in my mind of a loving connection and bond that could be shared between mommy & baby and her mentor. This could be the sweetest thing!

Our very first Embrace Love mentoring session was held at a delicious bakery in Colleyville. Too many sweets.. how can you just choose one! Beautiful mommy bloom with her baby girl so adorably dressed came walking in the door and sat down in the comfy booth beside me. I could not wait to get my hands around her sweet baby and love on her! We began sharing hearts and stories of favorite memories as a little girl. Her sweetest memories was when her Grandma would take her to a tea room in Grapevine and she remembers dressing up in princess dresses and enjoying tea parties and sweets. I thought it was the sweetest thing! It gave me an amazing thought for our next session together.

She also said her big dream now that she is a mommy and newlywed is to become a hairstylist and pursue her love of music. She has been playing guitar and loves to be creative in her music! I brought a small box of sweethearts and asked her to pick one heart from the box. The heart she chose read: U R A Star! She smiled the biggest smile and it was confirmation to her heart that what she is dreaming and desiring… really can come true! I told her she shines bright and she is a star in so many ways! To her daughter especially! She is so loving, nurturing, caring and giving to her precious baby girl. The love in her eyes sparkles and twinkles and lights up the room! She smiled so sweetly when she heard those little words. All it takes is a little love and encouragement to bring so much joy and happiness to these blooms hearts!

Our next Embrace Love session was set for us to meet at Let’s Pretend Tea Parties in Grapevine. Her Grandma was also invited to share in the celebration. They entered the room and her sweet baby had so much excitement. She is only 5 months old, but somehow she just knew this party was for her! Her very 1st tea party. I held her in my arms and she looked around the table. As she saw the tea cups her little arms were just squeezed up as tight as could be and sheer delight was in her face and she squealed and tightened up her little tummy like she knew it was time to party! Even though she is so tiny, her heart could sense the love all around her!

The expressions on her face was PRICELESS! Her mommy and great-grandma adoringly watched her excitement and captured the moments on their camera. It was a sight to remember and cherish forever! We sat around and enjoyed our tea time and cupcakes and she reminisced with her Grandma of all the special times they came to Let’s Pretend tea room and made special memories. Her Grandma had the sweetest tears falling down her cheeks as her granddaughter shared about their precious moments together and the love she has always shared.  3 sweet generations of God’s beautiful girls joined together around the table enjoying the moments. It was an honor to be a part and witness the love expressed in the room! We talked of love for each other, the love for her baby, the love of Jesus that is all over her. We listened to worship songs and the words of love began to flow. We wrote her little love notes for her to take with her and read when she moves next month to live on base with her new hubby.

The most joyous occasions. It was a winter wonderland in Grapevine. The snow was falling beautifully outside. Big snowflakes could be seen as we looked out the window… it seemed almost as if were in a movie while we were in  Let’s Pretend. Memories were being captured.  She began to plan her baby girls first birthday party at Lets Pretend Tea Parties in honor of the love that her Grandma had displayed for her as a little girl and as she has grown and blossomed into motherhood.

My heart was full of love and adoration. I held onto this precious baby girl and we looked at the adorable outfits on display. She melts my heart! Just as each and every baby that I come close to touches a sweet spot in my heart that words can not even express. In the womb, or in arms these babies are here for us to love! As the mommies and babies are Embraced by Love their hearts are forever being etched upon with the sweetest of words, tokens of love, kindness and expressions straight from the heart. I cherish these moments shared and look forward to so many more to come in the future!

Sending you my love! xoxo

Written by Salina Duffy

An Adoption Story

shutterstock_79601152Cuddling during a movie, reading books together, drawing silly pictures for him to color… these are just the few things I love to do with my three-year old son. These are things that I never thought was possible at times and as I reflect to write this I am still amazed that I have the opportunity to do these things with him as his mom.
My husband and I were lucky enough to start our family through open adoption. Adoption is a journey, with many ups and downs. Many times during this road, we thought that maybe we would never be parents until the day that his birth mother called us. She found us through a website that we placed our adoptive parent profile on. We were the only family she called. I knew that it was meant to be once she told me her name, Kylie. From the moment my husband and I started dating we knew that we were to marry and if we had a son, we would name him Kyle. I got chills when she told me her name because of the similarity to the name that we had so loved, Kyle. We knew we had met our miracle. We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful relationship with her and her family throughout the pregnancy and ever since. Our son, even though he is so young knows all about her and we exchange pictures with her and her family. We are hopeful that one day we can meet again in person. We think of her daily and thank her for the opportunity to become parents. If it were not for her, I would not have our cuddles, I would not have our book time, and I would not hear the laughter of my child when I am silly.

We always thought that we would attempt a second adoption and after Kyle was about one and a half years old we started the process again. This time around it has been a very different experience. We don’t have an agency working for us and I spend my evenings after Kyle goes to sleep trying to reach out to spread our profile on the internet. Our hope, well, it is to find another Kylie, although I am not sure if that is what God’s plan for us. We would love to meet someone who is expecting and considering an adoption plan. Sometimes thoughts from our first adoption creep up. The biggest one is ‘why someone would choose us when there are so many beautiful families to choose from.’ But we put aside our thoughts of not having a second child and keep hoping that someday we can become parents again.

106I write this story not only to share how wonderful adoption has been for our family but to also let others know that we would love to adopt again. I spread our story on Facebook, websites, and through blogs but I have also heard word of mouth is very powerful so hoping one day that is the way our son or daughter may find us. To learn more about us or share our ‘hope to adopt’ story please call or visit us at toll-free at 1-888-620-2025, email angandmatt@live.com or our website: https://www.adoptimist.com/angela-matt

Written by Angela Bernier

*Embrace Grace is a 3rd party sharing this story – all background checks and verifications need to be conducted by an attorney or adoption agency.

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A Peanut for Christmas?

shutterstock_92219029We were going to be pregnant together, my oldest sister and I. I was due September 4th and she September 6th. This was particularly exciting given I’d had a miscarriage the month before and she had two before considering fertility treatments. For my sister and her husband there was another aspect of importance. My brother-in-law, who had been adopted at birth, would finally have one blood relative—something he thought he really wanted.

Imagine the blow when my sister miscarried—again. She and her husband now needed to decide what to do next, and I felt the guilt of carrying my child to term “without her.” The fantasy I’d had of calling her every day to share our experiences—our sonogram visits, the first kicks felt—fell away like sand through my fingers. I also knew the birth of my child around her uncompleted due date would be, for her, a poignant moment of grief.

Then God lay on her heart to adopt. Because of her husband’s desire for a blood relative, this idea had previously been pushed aside. But God had other plans for him.

My sister researched some organizations and settled on the idea of an open adoption. She and her husband attended an information session to learn more. They sat through stories from adoptive parents about their experiences. They listened to them recount the same fears and insecurities my sister and her husband had about adoption. They also had a chance to experience the unfathomable love these parents had for their children.

This touched my brother-in-law most deeply. You see, he’d grown up in a family where one sister had been adopted, like him, and the other had not. You could imagine the lingering questions he might have had about his parent’s love. But now, he heard the depths of emotion these people had for the children “not of their blood,” allowing for a better understanding of his parents’ love for him.

God is amazing, isn’t He?!

They decided to adopt then and there. And God continued to show Himself as only He can. Within months, they were chosen by a birth mother whose first name also happened to be the same as what they’d planned to name their child. She also loved animals—which further endeared her to my sister—and her due date was the same as one of my sister’s miscarried pregnancies. Their only concern came with the knowledge that this young woman had epilepsy which required her to be on heavy medication. However, she chose to reduce the amount she normally took in order to lower any potential impact it might have on the baby she would not raise.

That September my son was born. My sister and her husband came to “meet” him and held him, not with the knowledge of what they would NOT have, but an expectancy of what was to come. I mean it. I have the pictures. You can see it in their eyes! It was exciting for us all.

Then the birth mother went into very premature labor. My sister and her husband, whose goal it had been to be there for the birth, flew out to Texas just in case. Doctors were able to delay the birth, which was good because the baby’s lungs were not yet completely formed, but there was no guarantee for how long. So my sister stayed.

You may not think it a big deal my sister stayed in Texas for a month by herself, but considering she’d suffered from agoraphobia (a fear of public places) not too long before, it was. Somehow, God was working in the details and strengthening her every step of the way. My sister is now a mental health therapist herself.

My beautiful niece, who I like to call “cousin peanut” (cuz she was shaped like one back then), was born on Christmas Eve. A joyous holiday for my sister and her husband, but one the birth mother will not remember well, because she had spent most of that day either having a grand-mal seizure, recovering from the effects of it, or being run through neurological tests to assure her wellbeing. All this because she had chosen to reduce her medication so much. She had put her health at risk so this little “peanut” would have a better chance.

No one can say my niece is not loved! She was loved first by the woman who risked much (in the age of easy access to abortion) and gave her up so she could have a better life. She was loved by the parents who’d raise her every day. And she is loved by her extended family (us) who couldn’t wait to meet her.

My sister and her husband later considered trying to grow their family some more, but they chose not to. Why? Because they couldn’t fathom loving another child, biological or not, as much as they did the “peanut” God gave them that Christmas.

Written by Connie Almony

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Connie’s experience includes working as a Christian Counselor in Columbia, Maryland. Though she no longer counsels, she continues to work with wonderful people in this field. She has been married almost twenty years and has two beautiful children who inspire her to become all she can be.

Connie hosts the blog Living the Body of Christ created to encourage readers to use the gifts God gave them. She also writes for InfiniteCharacters.com, a group blog dedicated to guide writers in their pursuit of a dream, and readers in their pursuit of a good read.

1 Year.

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Tissue paper was flying as the birthday girl opened her gifts. She would pull each present out, inspect it quickly and then toss to the side because the gift bag always looked way more fun. Abby was the star of the party and every move she made, the family and close friends would watch in awe. We would all follow her around on her little trails she would decide to go on and giggle every time she did something cute (which was the entire time).

 I think the entire party I was either laughing or crying. There was so much love for this baby you could just feel it. Even though Abby was only celebrating her first birthday, her life already has impacted many.  

Most of you have read or heard the story of “Jayd.” She was a sweet girl that I had the honor to walk through a season of her being pregnant at 16 and made the brave decision of choosing adoption. (If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read here http://destinyinbloom.com/love-big/) She had baby Abby last May and her life changed forever.

I want to introduce you to the face and the real name behind “Jayd.” Her name is Jordyn and she is STILL my hero.

Jordyn decided that after 1 year, she was ready to reveal her true identity. Along with this reveal, Abby’s birth father and boyfriend Josh would like his story to be heard (watch for his blog post tomorrow). He has been there with Jordyn from the dedication ceremony, at every visit with Abby, to the 1st birthday celebration. His life changed drastically this past year and he is excited to share his part of the journey.

Through this journey, Josh and Jordyn’s relationship has only strengthened. They have had each other to lean on in moments of mixed emotions. They both have grown closer to God and more confident in who they are. They are starting to see the impact on lives by sharing their story with others.

For Jordyn, this year has had its ups and downs of emotions. She gets to see Abby every other month and it is her favorite thing to look forward to. She still rests confidently in her decision to choose adoption, even on the hard days when her heart misses Abby so much. She just looks at her face and sees how happy she is with her adoptive family. She is being raised in such a great family and is loved by so many.

As I sat watching baby Abby opening her gifts while her adoptive mom, birth mom and birth dad sat next to her helping her, it just made me wonder that if girls that wanted to pursue an abortion knew that this could be an option, would they be more willing to save their baby’s life?

When a brave pregnant girl chooses adoption, there are usually 3 choices: open, semi-open or closed. But what if there is another choice?

The only story of adoption in the Bible was the story of baby Moses. His mom had to let him go so he could live. And even after letting her baby go, God still allowed her to have an integral role in her child’s life. Later in life, he knew who his birth mom was and loved her.

So what if there was another adoption option? An option that had more strategic visits and connections that strengthened the bond between birth mom and child? Sure there would need to be structure and rules made to enforce protection of adoption mom and this option isn’t for everyone … but I’ve seen firsthand how, with the right adoptive family and the right birth mom and dad, it could be a relationship that is life-changing for everyone.

We will post frequent updates on Josh and Jordyn and how their lives unfold. God has such great plans for the both of them. They want to be a light and voice for the unborn and to bring awareness to adoption.

Even when it’s not easy, the reward is great.

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Josh (birth dad), Tanya (adoptive mom), sweet baby Abby, Jordyn (birth mom)

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Written by Amy Ford

Photography by Rachel Kevil