My husband and I entered the adoption world blind. Scared. Alone. Uneducated. Fearful. Excited. Apprehensive. We did not know anyone who had adopted. We didn’t know anyone looking to adopt. We only knew one person who placed before. Every time we spoke about adoption people would ask about surrogacy as an alternative option. At times I felt very empty and other times I felt naive about how our story would unfold. Since my husband wasn’t exactly on board right away, I began to look around on Instagram for stories told. I was searching for hope and searching for comfort. I was seeking for stories of both failures and success. I wanted to find proof that these journeys are guided by God with faith restored… for myself and for my husband.

I found accounts that I was immediately drawn too. Families like mine, some not. Some of these families were local but some 1200 miles away. We all had different reasons for adopting, different visions of how we were growing our families. I read of different preferences each family specified or didn’t specify. I saw babies and their birth families entering these lives of adoptive families as if they belonged together the whole time. I encounter families who felt lead to different races and ethnicities. Some families choosing foster care first then hopes to adopt. Families who chose private lawyers versus national agencies. Some of these friends reached out to me publicly and some preferred to stay private.

The further we got into the process the closer I became to finding my adoption tribe. My adoption tribe consists of adoptive parents with and without kids, birth mothers although I still have hopes to connect with birth fathers. Adoptee’s are part of my adoption tribe. This tribe has turned strangers to friends to families. There is no way I could have gone 7 months and beyond without these individuals and their families. We have connected on levels that are so scarce, so sacred. I have learned to open my heart and mind further by meeting these individuals. The complexity and uniqueness of all of our stories have connected us on levels that others peers and relatives may not quite understand.

Recently I met with a group of ladies, all who I met online. Sounds silly, I know, but I won’t be surprised if we all think the same thing. We all come from different parts of the process- in the middle of home study, three-year post placement, and recently matched with babes coming in next month or so. We didn’t skip a beat and immediately started sharing stories that we may not share with the world outside of adoption. It was so comforting when I kept hearing the reassurance, “this is a safe space” around the table of 7 ladies. During the 2 hours we were together, I felt like I knew these women my whole life. I felt connected to each one for different reasons. I didn’t want to say goodbye but I knew that we are forever intertwined even if it remains through pictures.

I know we meet people in the oddest places and sometimes we are just supposed to be in their lives for a season. The friendships I have made in this community are solid.



Because this journey has so many high highs and the lowest of lows, we are better together.

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I grew up in old school church.   You know the type:  wooden pews, four-hundred page hymnals, red carpet, carved communion table, Jesus picture (with light) behind the pulpit, King James Bible.   

Every Mother’s Day, the pastor would stand up front and beckon all the mothers in the congregation to rise.  The rest of us would applaud them.  After the service, the pastor would stand at the back of the church and hand out single-stemmed roses to each mother.

It was a sweet gesture, and of course, we want to honor mothers, but looking back as an adult, one who didn’t give birth to her children, the whole situation had to have been incredibly awkward for some.  I wonder if there were a handful of ladies who didn’t attend services every Mother’s Day.  I wonder how those who did attend, but didn’t have the title of “mom,” felt remaining seated while we showered adoration upon the other women.   

Mother’s Day is loaded.   It means watercolor greeting cards and cheesy “mom” jewelry.   It means an awkward but well-intentioned breakfast-in-bed.   It means flowers and homemade art.   And it is everywhere, for weeks on end, beating those who haven’t entered into mommy membership.

I spent a handful of these holidays waiting.  Waiting for the call that would change my life.  Waiting for someone to decide I deserved to be a mommy.  Waiting for another mother to surrender her baby to me.

I spent holidays watching.  Watching others be handed cards and roses.  Watching others rub rounded bellies and bask in the new mom glow.  Watching honor be bestowed upon every other woman, it seemed, but me.    

Waiting and watching.  Waiting and watching.  And then, of course, wallowing.  Wallowing in the waiting and watching.  Wallowing in a pity party so epic there should have been invitations and cocktails and confetti.   Wallowing in hopelessness, jealousy, despair, frustration, and apathy.

This is completely normal, but it is not easy.   There is no way around the difficulties that present themselves during any adoption journey.  You must walk through the pain.   It’s frightening to think that after whatever loss brought you to adoption, you are forced to travel further through hardship.  Seemingly, the journey will never end.   You ping-pong between hurdle after hurdle.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  

It’s exhausting.  Infuriating.  Disheartening.  

To the woman waiting to adopt, to celebrate Mother’s Day, I want to know you are not alone.  Many of us have been where you are.   We get you.   We see you.   We cherish you.    We will celebrate with you when your day comes.   We will encourage you.   We are here, the midst of the crowds.   

This is exactly what Kindred + Co. exists.  So we can be there for one another, uplifting the ones who are weak and discouraged.  Celebrating the victories big and small.   Loving on moms and moms-to-be.   We are here.  You are here.  We are in this together.   

For more encouragement on your journey, check out Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey:  52 Devotions and a Journal, co-authored by me and Madeleine Melcher (an adoptee).  

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I remember being in elementary school and learning about acrostic poems. I think everyone in my family got a poem that year, their name in bright marker down the side of the page and an adjective for each letter. A was always “awesome”, N was “nice”, and you could usually bank on their actual name for the first letter because that seemed the most obvious (and easiest). That year I set out to describe my mom acrostically for Mother’s Day: M is for mom, O is for outstanding, and M is for marvelous. As we approach Mother’s Day this year, I’m so glad we don’t have to relegate only three adjectives to motherhood. Since becoming a mom, then struggling through infertility and then bringing our son home through adoption, I’ve seen it take on so many different shapes and colors and sizes. It’s so much more than I could have ever hoped or imagined.

Motherhood is a positive pregnancy test, a swelling belly, a grainy black-and-white ultrasound picture taped to the refrigerator. It’s a newborn’s first cries and a drowsy nursing babe.

Motherhood is a stack of paperwork, signed documents, and background checks. It’s having a social worker in your home, getting a physical, and selling t-shirts to fundraise. It’s waiting. It’s hoping, and praying.

Motherhood is waiting expectantly for a due date and watching it pass with empty arms. It’s folding up tiny onesies, washed muslin blankets and tucking them away. It’s the waves of loss that wash over you and threaten to hold you under, and it’s the hope that rises and pushes you forward.

Motherhood is meeting your son when he’s three days old. It’s the smell of his newborn skin and the softness of his dark silken hair. It’s your heart whispering “there you are, I’ve been waiting for you”.

Motherhood is the first glimpse of your daughter’s face, thousands of miles away. It’s the tear-soaked photo you tuck into the visor of your car, press between the pages of your Bible, and carry with you. It’s crossing an ocean and an unspoken number of obstacles to finally hold her in your arms.

Motherhood is the hope that this will be the month. It’s another twenty dollars spent on a test, and it’s the hope that lingers after the bitter disappointment has worn off.

Motherhood is a middle of the night phone call. It’s scrambling to gather up clothes, and readying bottles. It’s standing knee deep in the messy and hard. It’s saying yes to getting attached, it’s being prepared to let go.

Motherhood is sitting through that baby shower and celebrating with your mama friends. It’s bathroom floor, behind the closed door sobbing. It’s waiting for your turn.

Motherhood is loving your baby more than yourself. It’s choosing his life, feeling his first kicks and hiccups. It’s handing him to his forever mama, it’s saying goodbye.

Motherhood is love, and courage, and kindness. It’s hope, it’s loss, it’s joy. It’s longing, it’s waiting, it’s celebrating. Motherhood is perseverance. It’s fueled by lots of coffee and lots of love and lots of grace. I see it in the eyes of a new mama, in the waiting pleas and prayers of a hopeful adoptive mama, and in the beautiful face of my son’s birth mom.

Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day, whether it’s your first of many, or you are several generations in, or if it’s a title your heart longs for and you are waiting in the trenches. May you be spurred on and carried along by those who do it so well and lovingly around you. We, together, are motherhood. We are better together.

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These are the comments and questions that live in my head on a daily basis. Can anyone relate? Just me? Am I normal? Please tell me yes.


Hey, popular media, how about you make some movies where one out of every eight of the characters is struggling with infertility. Be relatable or something.


Oh, look! Another movie preview about an accidental pregnancy that ends with a convenient love story between the biological mother and biological father of the child. I will now punch the wall and attempt to get my hands on that movie script so I can light it on fire.


Whatever. I barely watch television anyway. Let’s get some stuff done. GROCERIES!


*In baby aisle* Hey, large companies who produce baby products–I realize you don’t want to “rock the boat” or anything, but maybe society as a whole would have an easier time understanding transracial adoption if you like…put colorful families on your packaging. Just a thought. I’d buy them. And then maybe fewer people would stare at my family when we’re out in public. Thanks for your consideration.


Speaking of… those people staring at my family not realize I can see their eyeballs? Ugh. Just ignore them and check your phone or something.


Ah! Look! Another healthy twenty week ultrasound in my news feed! PRAISE. Guess I’m headed to the gym’s punching bag later. Ugh. Now I feel guilty. BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS, JORDAN.


Wait, no. Your kids died and all of your ultrasounds came straight from the fiery pits of h–okay. Yeah. Giving myself a break. I think people call that grace?


Yes, giving myself grace for the fact that I am happysadangrymad about all the ultrasounds all up in my feed. *deletes all social media apps and throws phone into trash.* Enough of that. Let’s just go to the park. Get some fresh air. Relax.


Oh, no. Another park playdate with a group of moms complaining about their pregnant bellies while they chase their other zillion trillion biological kids around. Oh, no. They saw me. They are talking to me. I am now included in the conversation. Seriously? This again? Pregnancy complaints and husband bashing. Think fast. They are looking at you. Say something.


“I mean………I wish I was pregnant and I really like my husband.”


*blank stares*


Quick…..act like it’s time to get Shepherd back for his nap. No, wait, be sassy and tell her you’ll take the baby off her hands if it’s too much trouble. No. Don’t be dramatic. Just go home. This is why you don’t like the park during peak hours, Jordan. Remember this. On the way home I ponder why all the billionaires in the world don’t just fund all the adoptions.


Why can’t I be a billionaire so I can fund all the adoptions?


*Spends rest of day thinking about how to become a billionaire.*



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Sometimes in life we beg and beg and beg God for something and His answer isn’t what we want it to be. It’s not necessarily no but it’s something different than what we asked for. When prayers are answered we often hear of God’s faithfulness. We hear of His great plans. We hear about never losing hope and always having faith. But here’s my issue with that, aren’t those things true even when God doesn’t answer our prayers or when he answers them in a different way than we asked?


For years I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that God would make me a mom. In my mind that meant me getting pregnant, carrying a baby for 9 months, and birthing that baby. Down the road I knew that it included adoption but first it would include those exact things. But God had something else in mind. But He was still faithful. He still had a plan. It was just different from mine. I know many people who have prayed for the same thing and that specific prayer has been answered in that very way. Does that mean that God is more faithful to that person than He is to me? Absolutely not. I say it again. ABSOLUTELY NOT.


There’s a Garth Brooks song actually called “Unanswered Prayers”. If you haven’t listened to it before, here’s the link


The chorus in the song says

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers

Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs

That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
And the thing is they aren’t even unanswered prayers. What was I praying for? I was praying for God to make me a mama. And He did. He answered. He did it in the most beautiful way I could imagine. And I know I’ve said it before, if He had answered one of those prayers in the specific way I was hoping then I probably wouldn’t be sitting here watching my beautiful almost 2-year-old sleeping on the monitor. He knew exactly what He was doing. He was being faithful. He had a beautiful plan

I know it can be hard to see other people who see a positive pregnancy test after years of infertility or a heartbeat on an ultrasound after so many losses or an adoption match after so many “she didn’t choose you”. I am right there with you. In those moments, I go back to what I know. He is faithful. He loves me. He is right there with me. He is right there with you. In the doubt. In the fears. In the unanswered prayers. Cling to that. Hold on to hope. He will answer.


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To the beautiful woman I didn’t pick,

I want you to know that I think about you often.  I want you to know that I loved your family.  I want you to know that you and your husband were a beautiful couple and that I felt that you had so much to offer.

I want you to know that I poured over your profile.  In a stack of a 50 families you stood out, for whatever reason, my heart skipped a beat when I looked at your profile and I knew that you were in the running.

You and your husband were newlyweds, married just 2 years.  You were so young and beautiful.  Your husband was serving our country and you were a school teacher.  You lived a happy life in Idaho.  You loved each other, you believed in God and you wanted a baby.

You shared your amazing story with me, a complete stranger that was pregnant and considering YOU.  You shared your deepest sadness and yearning for a child.  You shared your heartbreaking story of all of the children that you lost to miscarriage.  You shared the tears and pain of infertility.  You opened up about the guilt and shame and anger that you felt about not being able to have a child biologically.  You shared your heart and the heart of your husband.  The tears that you shed together.

And then you shared your story of hope, the hope that a woman like me would pick a woman like you.  That I would find you and be drawn to you, that I would want to meet you and that I would bond with you and love you immediately.  That I would fulfill your dreams of becoming a mother.  You promised me an open adoption, you promised to love my son like he was your own flesh and blood, that he would be raised to love God and that he would know me and always know my love for him.

I want you to know that you stood out.  I want you to know that I wanted to pick you.  I want you to know that I prayed over you and your husband.  I want you to know that I still do.

I think about you often.  You are in my heart, just as present as the woman I picked to be a mother to my son.  I know you were informed that I was looking at your profile.  I know that you had to live through the rejection.  I want you to know how sorry I am and that you did nothing wrong.

I picked her.  I picked them.  They are amazing people.  They are an amazing family and have been the perfect family for me and for that beautiful boy.

Although, I didn’t pick you.  You are amazing people.  You would have been an amazing family and could have been the perfect family for me and that beautiful boy.

I think about you and hope and pray often that you have been picked.  That you found a woman who was like me all those years ago.  That she poured over your profile and cried as I did.  That she was inspired by you as I was, that they called you and met you and that you have been able to fulfill all those same promises that you made to me.  That she was able to help you become a mother…a mother that you have always dreamed of being.

Although, I didn’t pick you.  I loved you and you touched my heart and inspired me.

I am not sorry for the family I picked, but I am sorry that the decision I made meant that you didn’t get picked.  I never wanted that kind of power.  I never wanted to deem one family worthy of a child and another not.

I want you to know that after hours of combing through so many families…SO many families with the same desires and hopes and heart breaks I picked you…I picked you AND I picked her.  I had an impossible decision to make.  I was so exhausted, I was so tired, I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t want to make this choice.  I hated everything about this process.  I want you to know that I wanted to help you both, to be a part of both of your families, I wanted to share in the joy with both of you.  I knew that wasn’t possible and it broke me.

I prayed all night, prayed for comfort, for clarity, for understanding, for peace, for direction.  I stared at your faces in the dark.  Finally a restless sleep came over me.  When I felt myself wake in the morning I wished that I could sleep forever.  I knew that I had to face the decision.  I knew that I had to be accountable for my actions.  I knew that the consequences were coming to collect.

I sat up and I looked down at your face, and at her face.  And I knew.   My prayers had been answered.  I knew who I was going to pick to be the mother of my son.  And I put your profile back in the pile.

All these years later, I want you to know that I loved you and I think about you often.  I am sorry that I couldn’t pick you.  But even more than that…I hope someone else did.

Ashley, Birth Mom 11 years later.


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I love surprises.


When I was little, I grew up with a brother, Kevin, who was 10 years older than me and was constantly finding new ways to entertain me, surprise me, and make my life feel magical. For example, Easter baskets were never just handed over, but after extensive scavenger hunts, I usually found the basket in a strange place like the dryer or hanging from a tree, outside, above my head, and out of reach. One of the BEST surprises that Kevin pulled off was waking me up one morning to go to the airport with him to “pick up one of Dad’s friends”. We got to the airport, walked past all the shops and restaurants, and all the way to the gate to greet this guest (this was long before 9/11). When the friend never got off the plane, my brother told me the guest must still be on the plane and we have to go on and look for him. So we got on the empty plane, and still, there was no friend to be found. At this point, Kevin told me just to sit down in one of the seats because he must be in the bathroom (I love surprises as much as I am gullible, so it works out well!). After sitting for a while and being totally unaware that the plane is now filling with people, I started looking out the window see the plane was moving backward. I started screaming and crying and telling Kevin we have to get off this plane – while the flight attendant sternly asked me to sit back down. Finally, Kevin had to spill the beans and tell me that we were actually on the plane to go to Disneyland, and that there is no Dad’s friend. My tears dried up quickly and yet again, Kevin had pulled off a great surprise.


Today – March 29th – marks one year since the biggest surprise of my life started to unfold.  One year ago, this day started as an average day. I do remember feeling a little anxious and a little defeated. Josh’s big medical school test was only a few weeks away, and following it he would have two weeks off school – with a rigid medical school schedule this was his only scheduled break of the year. We had been hoping for so long that something would happen with our adoption before those two weeks so that we would have time together to adjust to our new normal. But that date was quickly approaching and there were no new situations, and we hadn’t even presented our profile yet to anyone (although had many opportunities that didn’t feel “right” yet). Needless to say, our timeline that we dreamt up wasn’t looking promising.


On that day I woke up to a text from my brother out of the blue saying,

“I’m sure that its easy to get anxious and impatient – but there is a mom out there that desperately needs you, and you are ready for her when she seeks help. I love you. And couldn’t be more proud of you.”

I thanked him for this timely text of encouragement not knowing in a matter of a few hours a VERY special mom would start to make her way into our lives.


I was cruising my Facebook feed during that 3 o’clock in the afternoon slump, when I saw a post that caught my eye. An agency was having a hard time finding a match for twin girls – this expectant mom had looked through many books and hadn’t found what she was looking for and was due in a few short weeks. Josh had been joking (quite seriously) that he wanted twins throughout our whole adoption. I thought he was nuts and knew the chances of twins were slim to none, but I couldn’t help but think of him when I saw this post on Facebook across my feed. So, I tagged him in the comments with a simple winky face emoji. No words. Just an emojii. It was kinda mean – because I knew these girls weren’t going to be ours. After all, the post said you needed to live in Utah, so in a way, I was taunting him and after I left my comment, I kept scrolling.


A couple hours later Josh flew in the door, ready to start negotiating with me why we should email the agency to make SURE that you HAVE to live in Utah. He obviously was thinking about how to convince me on his hour long commute home.
After less convincing that he thought I would need, I sent an email to the agency – expecting to hear that we can’t live out of state for this situation. But the answer was different and it changed everything.
That night, Josh and I laid in bed, both processing differently, both not sleeping, and not talking either. I remember staying up till about three in the morning crying and wondering if I am strong enough for twins. I even googled “how to take care of twins”. That night I got a text from a friend with TWO sets of twins. She told me that sometimes we have to flip the coin and let God choose how it lands.


Even though fears all but overtook me that night – one question would lead to the next ten questions….How do we raise 30K in just a few weeks? How do we take care of twins while Josh is in medical school? How do we afford twins? Where do we put the twins in our small Chicago apartment? How do you care for two babies at once? How long will they need to be in the NICU? And especially, can we do this?


But somehow Josh and I both woke up with a sense of peace. We knew our options were:


  • to not present our profile book and always wonder “what if?”
  • to present and get a no, and know that it wasn’t our story
  • to present, and at that point, if we got a yes, it was because so many doors had to open and that in itself would be a big enough confirmation to us.


So, that next morning we decided to say “yes”. And today, I am writing this blogpost with my two daughters crawling across the floor who have given me more joy than I could ever have imagined. I would be so angry at one-year-ago-Hannah if she had let fear win. How different life would look today had I not tossed the coin.


Ezra and Olive – You are my greatest surprise. In every sense of the word.  And I couldn’t be more grateful and honored that your birth mom said “yes” back.

“While we’re distracted with fear, the enemy pickpockets our purpose, cripples our courage, dismantles our dreams and blinds us to the beauty of the Lord’s great plans.” – Lisa TerKeurst

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Some situations in life we sit back and think “oh well, THAT would never happen to us” and others you immediately worry that “it will happen to us”. I read about failed adoptions, failed placements, and failed matches when we started our adoption journey – and they quickly became one of the biggest fears.

This failed match felt like the loss of a baby. A piece of our hearts ripped from our chests. I did not struggle with infertility. I did not experience miscarriage or loss of a biological child. The failed match that my family experienced back in July of 2016 was a different pain than hearing from a doctor that I cannot carry another child. A true loss. For six weeks we were led to believe that we had found our baby through adoption. We heard the words “you’re family has been chosen” – A statement that we waited and dreamed of hearing for months. We anxiously awaited the phone call to meet the expectant mom. We were invested financially to an extent. Our hearts fully committed. Our dreams of this meeting expectant mom, of this baby, our travels, the relationships, our experience was so vivid and so exciting. After 6 weeks of dreaming and planning, our dreams quickly ended – we had been duped; we had been scammed.

Eventually, we did find our baby. Our daughter came to us just a few short weeks after moving past that heartbreaking situation. But I still think about that baby… and her mom. I pray they are healthy and happy. The scam doesn’t make it harder or easier but has made it difficult to move forward. The situation felt so unfinished, incomplete. At the time, it was difficult to see how this was supposed to be part of our story. That this was part of His plan. It was hard to believe that at the end of this we’d be able to say “this situation lead us to our daughter.”
Grief is unique and individualized. It is a process and a journey in itself – and often there is no expiration date. Just like the adoption journey, we all take and live experiences differently. I have met many people who speak about their failed situations and they quickly follow up with “well we have our baby now so it’s fine” or “well it all worked out.” What is fine is letting yourself feel, grief, process, identify, and live that incomplete match. You don’t need to backtrack the pain, discredit the anger or ignore the severity of why things didn’t work out. The grief and loss of this failed match still sneaks up on me today –  I feel the pinch in my gut and that lump in my throat. That is natural. That is healthy. I recognize that those feelings may never go away and that doesn’t discredit my gratefulness for my daughter now. But that is grieving. That failed match is still part of our journey and our story.


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Introduce yourself and your family.

My name is Marissa Adams and I’m wife to Jacob, who I’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage with next month! We have five beautiful children; Eli (6), Logan (5), Mylie (4), Jaiden (2), and Oliver (1). Jaiden and Oliver are biological half brothers, who we adopted domestically. My husband works from home and we also homeschool our oldest two, so we’re always with each other! It gets crazy sometimes, but mostly we consider ourselves immensely blessed and enjoy having everyone at home. We currently reside in Arizona as natives, but are planning a move to Pennsylvania this spring!

Tell us about your journey to adoption and what adoption means to you.

Adoption is always something I’ve wanted to do and something that we talked about doing “some day” when we were first married. My older sister was adopted and I know that had a greater impact on me than I realized during childhood. She’s always just been my sister and the adoption part was something comfortable and natural to me, especially as a believer in Jesus. After we had our first three children, we decided that we wanted to continue to add to our family through adoption. It took us about a year to research the how’s and where’s of adoption, but once we decided what was right for our family, it was less than 6 months between starting our home study to bringing home baby! Our sons’ birth mom was flown to Arizona to give birth to our first son, Jaiden, and in the time she was here we bonded with her and supported her in any way we could. We really bonded with her and I think that time with us was a huge factor in her wanting us to adopt her second son just over a year later. Since we knew their birth mom, we went forward without an agency and did it privately with Oliver’s adoption. Neither road was without incident and both adoptions grew and stretched us in ways that never would have happened otherwise, but that’s exactly why we’re so grateful and blessed that we get to be these boys’ forever family.

What have you learned through your adoptions?

No two adoptions are exactly the same and God writes such a unique story for each and every one who chooses adoption. While there’s heartbreak in every story, there’s always, most certainly beauty too. Clinging to the hope and truths we find in Jesus is paramount, because your emotions in adoption are all over the place! In the end, God changes you and changes hearts around you in the most incredible ways.

What words of wisdom would you have for someone considering adoption?

Don’t allow fears of the unknown keep you from choosing adoption. Our lives are full of unknowns and the truth is that God is sovereign over it all anyway, so why not trust in His faithfulness and jump into this incredible journey with Him by your side? Along the way, He will grow you and stretch you and cause you to love deeper and greater than you would have ever thought possible. He provides all the things that you need to come out the other side with a greater love for Him and for those around you. Lastly, this adoption community is vast and wide and an incredible resource for you. Take advantage of it, because we’re all here for each other and we want to support you! Many blessings on your journey!

Marissa is one of our favorite ‘grammers! Follow her on Instagram here and on Facebook here . 


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I once heard someone say that you are never done grieving. They said that if you wait for grieving to end before moving on, you’ll never be able to move on at all. I know from experiencing the loss of our first two children, that this is as true as ever. Grief is one of the most difficult experiences I have ever faced. Grief is unwavering at times, and other times manageable. It is messy and unfair and awful and life changing. It is also strengthening and moving and empowering, all at the same time. The only thing that grief is not, is easy.

We were questioned whether or not we were “ready” to begin the adoption process so soon after loss. The only people who consistently never questioned us were the ones who had known loss on various levels, some grieving the loss of biological motherhood due to infertility, some grieving loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, and the like.

Yet as we walked through our own grieving, we realized that grief wasn’t leaving us anytime soon. We saw that there were choices we could make daily, hourly even, that would sooth the ache of our hearts, yet we knew that expecting to wake up one morning with wounds that no longer hurt was simply unreasonable.

We sat across from our social worker and spoke about our family. Our story. Our experiences and our desires to bring home a child. What we experienced at that table was balm to our souls. It was the experience of choosing to hope. We were choosing to open ourselves up to the complex journey of adoption, a journey not guaranteed to be easy or free of trial. We were choosing to step into the unknown because we knew that while our grief would be with us forever, we could position ourselves for blessing. We could position ourselves for joy.

Not every family who grieves will have the same timeline. There is no right way to navigate life after loss and there is no wrong way to grieve. What we can do, is come alongside those who face grief daily, and help to position them for hope. Love and joy and peace and encouragement are the things of life that make loss manageable. Judgement, criticism, and aggression regarding another’s choices and feelings are the things that inflame it.

Four months after burying our second child, we welcomed our son. His mother’s loss was now our gain. Her grief was our joy. Grief is a funny thing–tied to life and death and adoption and love. Adoption will always be interwoven with it. And now our dance with grief is very different, yet still existent. Did our adopted child sooth the pain in our hearts and the emptiness of our arms? Yes. He did. We chose to say yes to the uncharted territory of adoption, and in doing so, we stared at our heartache and fought to bring life and joy to our family.

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Kindred + Co is a brave adoption community. Sharing stories of beauty and brokenness, hope and redemption as we walk through life together.

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