Breathe. Relax. It’s Going to Be OK.

Almost one year, on February 13, 2017, Stephen and I walked in the front doors of an adoption agency for an informational meeting. We were armed with lots of questions and way too many preconceived ideas about adoption. We had no idea what we were getting into, and needless to say, we were completely clueless.

If I could go back in time and talk to that hopeful, scared and clueless girl, I would give her a loving smack on the forehead and say, “Breathe. Relax. It’s going to be OK.”30

And then I would tell her that waiting was going to be excruciating. I’d warn her that heartache was going to happen, that there would be days where she didn’t want to get out of bed, and nights filled with tears. I’d warn her that one day an expectant mom would say, “not them,” and her heart would feel crushed and she may forget how to breathe. But then, in the next breath, I’d tell her that waiting would be life-giving and encouraging. I would tell her that friends and family members would show up to support in ways she could never imagine. I’d tell how she would grow closer to her husband, and learn to trust the Lord even more. I’d tell her about how she would grow, mature and learn to be content no matter the circumstances. And then I would tell her that one day, when she least expects it, she’s going to get a call that will change everything. I’d tell her that one day she’s going to hold that baby, and every tear, every longing, every heartache, every joy—it would all make sense.

Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. I don’t know what you’re waiting on—a baby, a spouse, a job, etc. But I believe that God is fully present in our waiting—that He sees our tears, our struggles and heartache. Nothing is unseen by Him, and nothing is meaningless. My pain and heartache were not meaningless—through it, the Lord drew me closer to Him, making me rely on Him for my joy and strength and peace. As I look back over the last year—the days I cried and doubted, the days I rejoiced and praised—I find myself tearing up with gratitude for how the Lord worked in my life. Yes, He answered my prayers and gave me the child I prayed so long for. But He also matured me and drew me into a deeper relationship with Him, and for that, I am so thankful. 38

Photos by Brianna Lynn Heckert Photography

It’s a Boy!

It’s a Boy!

Well friends, Stephen and I have some exciting news: Earlier this month, we met our sweet, precious baby boy. Griffin Eugene was born on December 18 and joined our family through the gift of adoption.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve written quite a bit about the adoption process since we started our journey in February 2017. You’ve also probably noticed that I went quiet around October and didn’t really share much on my blog.

On October 17, we received a text message from our adoption counselor, letting us know an expectant mother was looking at our profile book and interested in getting to know us. We set up a meeting for the following afternoon. I was so nervous—what if she didn’t like me? I left work that afternoon and what did I do? I got my nails done. I still had a gift certificate left from my birthday, and I was all about making the right impression. Obviously my nails needed to be painted. We then grabbed Chick-fil-a for dinner and headed to the store to put together a small thank you gift for this mother.

On October 18, we drove to our adoption agency to meet her. On the 10-minute drive there, I worried myself sick. We actually had to stop twice because I felt like I was going to be sick. I even put a different shirt in the backseat in case I did get sick on the drive over. (OK, maybe I was over-prepared.) We arrived first, and chatted with our adoption counselors about what to expect. Stephen and I were both super nervous, but after learning about her, we both felt like it was a good fit.

When she walked into the room, she immediately hugged me and I told her that I was just as nervous as she was. (Might as well be honest!) For the next two hours, we talked about everything from raising kids, our favorite hobbies and activities, our favorite sports teams, what foods we like and our parenting philosophy. At one point, she asked us if we had chosen a boy name, and we told her “Griffin Eugene.” We explained that we simply liked the name Griffin, but that Eugene is Stephen’s middle name. We were so glad she also liked the name. At the end of the two hours, we said our goodbyes and gave her another hug and then headed out to our car. As we walked outside, I whispered to Stephen, “I really hope she picks us. I like her so much.” We were getting in the car when we saw our adoption counselor running outside to get our attention. She told us that there was one question this woman forgot to ask. We walked back inside, and she took a deep breath and said, “Will you be Griffin’s mommy and daddy?”

Friends, it’s a memory that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. Remember the first time you saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test? Well, this was my “two pink lines.” I burst into tears and threw my arms around her, saying “yes” over and over again. Next to saying yes to Jesus and yes to Stephen, it will always be one of my best “yeses.”

Over the next two months, we attended doctor appointments and ultrasounds. She was so gracious to invite us to them all. I’ll always remember the first time I heard Griffin’s heartbeat—sitting next to his birth mother and smiling at her when I heard it. I’ll always remember the first ultrasound I went to, seeing his little hand fly over his face, preventing us from getting a good picture (he still does this).

When we started the adoption process, I wondered if I would ever get to experience hearing the heartbeat, getting an ultrasound photo or even feeling the baby kick. God was so gracious to allow me to experience all three. At one appointment, Griffin was active and kicking, and she told me to come over and place my hand on her belly. Feeling him kick was an incredible experience.

On December 18, two months to the day after being matched, Griffin was born. His birth mother was so incredible, inviting us to be in the room for the delivery and giving Stephen the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. She even invited our families to be present at the hospital, something we never imagined would be possible. (The weekend before his birth, she asked to have lunch with our parents. What a gift that was, to ask to meet our parents—the people who would be her son’s grandparents. Our parents were thrilled to get to meet her.)


Right before the doctor came in for the delivery, I asked her if I could pray for her. I’ve prayed for her since the day we started the adoption process—for months I prayed every day for a nameless, faceless woman. But starting on October 18, I prayed for her by name. And on December 18, I said that prayer out loud and over her. I prayed for her strength during the delivery, I prayed for safety and minimal pain, I prayed for a quick delivery, and I prayed for a healthy, strong baby. And then I praised God for her—for her sacrifice and love for this baby she carried, for her trust and confidence in us, and for the gift she is to our family. I cried through the whole thing, but I was determined to go to the Lord on her behalf. Less than 10 minutes later, I heard Griffin’s first cry and I just continued crying. She held him first—and I want Griffin to know that—and then asked for him to be handed to me.

After the delivery, she told us she wanted our moms to come back to the delivery room to meet their grandson. We were humbled by her willingness to allow our families to be part of this experience. After our moms visited, our dads and Stephen’s sister came back to see him.

For the next couple of days, we stayed at the hospital with her and Griffin. The hospital was wonderful and gave Stephen and me a free room to stay. I have nothing but absolutely wonderful things to say about the nursery nurses who took such amazing care of us and of Griffin. I probably asked some dumb questions at times, but they were so kind and helpful.

We were able to leave the hospital on December 20. Leaving the hospital was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done. We watched Griffin’s birth mother hold him, kiss him, and tell him how much she loved him. And friends, she loves him so much. It’s so evident. To me, that made her decision to make an adoption plan so much more beautiful. Before we got in the car to leave, I hugged her neck, cried, and told her how much I loved her and how thankful I was for her.

IMG_1186And here we are—we’ve been home ever since then. A lot of people have said how lucky Griffin is to have us as parents. And yeah, I like to think that Stephen and I are pretty awesome, but we definitely are not saviors or superheroes. We were just two people who wanted to be parents. Griffin’s birth mother gave us that gift—we are the blessed ones. Poor Griffin is our first child, which means he’s also the guinea pig, so I don’t know how “lucky” he is. We’re so grateful to have such a good relationship with his birth mother. Griffin will never have to wonder who his birth mother is or how much she loved him, and for that I am so grateful. He’ll always know I’m his mommy, and that another woman gave me the most wonderful gift of being mommy. Adoptive mama Jody Landers once said, “A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”

IMG_1400Friends, adoption is hard. There’s nothing easy about it. When you start the process, you’re met with a pile of paperwork and forms, and then you’re required to attend training classes and complete education hours. There were days were I was bitter, thinking, “You don’t have to do this to get pregnant.” The home study is invasive, and you feel like you’re sharing every detail of your life, childhood and marriage with someone you just met. (Trust me, our adoption counselors feel like family now.) And then, after the home study, you just wait. You wait, and you wait, and you wait, and then you wait some more. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days feel long and depressing. Some days are blissfully short and you forget your heart is heavy. Every morning you wake up wondering, “Is this the day we’ll get a call? Is this the day someone will choose us?”

But let me tell you: Adoption may be hard, but it’s worth it. One day, that long-awaited call will come … and it changes everything. When we met Griffin’s birth mother, I just knew she was the woman I had been praying for. That’s why I whispered, “I really hope she picks us” to Stephen as we left the agency after meeting her. The second Griffin was placed in my arms, it was as if every tear shed and heartache I felt during our wait just vanished. I thought to myself, “I would wait for you all over again.” He was so worth the wait.

Griff1 2

If I Told You My Story

If I Told You My Story

IMG_0719Last night, Stephen and I attended the Special Kids* benefit concert to see Big Daddy Weave perform. I don’t listen to a ton of contemporary Christian music, but I do love Big Daddy Weave.

During the concert, my eyes filled up with tears, and I realized that I haven’t truly stopped in the last six weeks to worship. Our last six weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions—going to doctor appointments, getting to know Griffin’s sweet birth mother, getting our house and nursery ready to go, working extra hours at work to get ready to take time off, and just simply processing the fact that our lives are about to change in a matter of days. Toss in the holidays and Christmas shopping, and it has been a truly hectic time.

It was refreshing to take a couple of hours to praise God through song. I spent most of that concert just thanking God for the work that He’s doing in our lives, for loving His children with a fierce love, and for redeeming our story.

That’s why, when Big Daddy Weave started singing “My Story,” I really began crying. “My Story” is a song about our testimonies and how they point to the kindness, grace and mercy of Jesus.

If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn’t let go
If I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
If I told you my story
You would hear life but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be

Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
To tell you my story is to tell of Him

Our stories are all different. I hope that when I share my testimony, about my life before my relationship with Jesus, that people see a clear picture of Him. But I also hope that when I share my current story—infertility; days, months and years of praying for a child; starting the adoption process; learning we had been matched; preparing to meet our son—I hope you see God in that, too.

I hope you see a God who restores what is seemingly broken.

I hope you see a God who draws us up from the pit.

I hope you see a God who loves His children.

I hope you see a God who is faithful even when His people are struggling to have faith.

I hope you see a God who is close to the brokenhearted and heals those hurt hearts.

I hope you see a God who rejoices over His people like a father rejoices over His children.

I hope that when I tell you our story, you see Him.


Special Kids is a Christian nonprofit in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that provides therapy and nursing services to children with special needs. They were founded on the principle that no child would ever be turned away because their family could not afford services. 

3 Things We’ve Learned in the Adoption Process

3 Things We’ve Learned in the Adoption Process

Stephen rarely shares his personal thoughts on Facebook—most of his posts are sports-related, updating a profile picture, or sharing one of my own blog posts. However, today he shared some of his thoughts and observations from the last seven months of the adoption process. As most of you know, we have recently been matched with an expectant mother, and we are overjoyed and thrilled at the thought of welcoming a baby boy later this year. I don’t plan to share many details about the adoption on this blog (or really anywhere else for that matter), because Stephen and I desire to keep the mother’s life private—her story is not ours to share with everyone. However, I wanted to share Stephen’s words, which are below.

I haven’t posted on here much for good reason: The share button is a great thing when your wife is so great with words, but I figured I would just share some of my observations and the things I have learned throughout this whole adoption process. We are nowhere near the end, but God is writing a story that is far greater than anything I could dream or imagine.

1. Adoption is not for wimps.

This process has been hard! On night one, when we went to the information meeting, we were told that adoption is not for wimps and if you can’t handle it then you don’t need to do it. And wow, were they right. I’m sure if you have read any of Megan’s blog posts then you know and understand this has been a hard process. There have been many nights of tears, asking God why, and just straight-up frustration that we weren’t able to have kids.

2. God is great.

We know that we are far from the finish line. Being matched is just one turn on this journey of adoption, but it is so beautiful to see how God is working through every part of it. We believe that God picked this expectant mother for us on day one. We were sitting in the doctor’s waiting room talking with her, and it felt like we had all been friends for years. When we first met her, God answered so many questions as to why we have been waiting for the perfect match. I have been so awestruck by God’s faithfulness through this journey. I am thankful that even when I question Him, He is still there and faithful.

3. People are always willing to help.

We have been so blessed by all the ways people have helped us, from buying baby 22815542_10209741504803577_9120292006710924971_nclothes, formula, and diapers, to just encouraging us with kind words. It has been overwhelming at times. I went into the nursery last night and just stared at everything we had and began to thank God for bringing people into our lives to be a blessing. So, thank you. For all the people who have bought shirts or BBQ, shopped at the yard sale, bought baby clothes for us, or even just said an encouraging word … we could not have done this without you!

This journey is far from over, but we are thankful to God that He has led us in this way. No matter what happens, we know that God is good and working all things for His glory and His fame. We covet your prayers through this crazy and constantly changing time. We truly do feel your prayers and we’re so grateful for them! Continue to pray for this sweet mother who is doing one of the most selfless things you can do.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This month, I’ll be sharing a few ways that you can support families who are fostering and/or pursuing adoption. To start, check out my latest post on small businesses that have ties to adoption and foster care


Shop Small & Support Adoption

Shop Small & Support Adoption

It’s hard to believe that November is almost here—I feel like I completely missed October. November and December are two of my favorite months—I can finally wear sweaters, scarves and boots; it’s almost time for the holidays; and I get some time off work. Nothing better, right?

You may not realize it, but November is also National Adoption Awareness Month. This is a great month to encourage a family who is praying about adoption, in the middle of the process, or a family who is fostering. (I hope you know a family other than us!) The adoption process is hard, y’all. It’s an emotional roller coaster and there are days where you just want to stay in bed and cry. This month, send a card to a family, bless them with a meal, or just shoot them a text saying you’re praying for them. It’s so easy to feel forgotten and alone during this process, and receiving some encouragement, even if just a text, can lift your spirits.

With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few businesses that have ties to adoption and foster care. Christmas is less than two months away, and if you’re like me, you’re ready to finish (or start!) your shopping. Why not shop small and support families who are growing or have grown their families through adoption? Here are some of my favorites.

Swallows Grace

“Joanna Gaines Is My Spirit Animal.” Isn’t she, though? Buy it here.

Kenzi and Austin Reddick opened their Etsy shop in August 2015 to help cover the costs of their private domestic adoption. Their shop featured coffee mugs with witty sayings, one of which read “Joanna Gaines Is My Spirit Animal.” Chip Gaines even posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding the coffee mug, which helped the Reddicks gain even more business. (Side note: Stephen bought me that mug for my birthday, and I proudly use it because Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal.) Today, the Reddicks are parents to Lane and continue selling coffee mugs and other goods on their shop. I have this mug on my Christmas list.

Follow on Instagram here.

In Our Little Red House

Isn’t this so perfect? I want one to hang over my bed.

I wish I could do hand lettering. It’s just not one of my talents. But it is one of Sarah Thatcher’s talents. I started following Caleb and Sarah Thatcher on Instagram a few months ago. The Thatchers are parents to two cute little boys, both of whom where adopted. Now, they’re adopting again. How exciting is that?! Right now, 100 percent of the profits from their sign-making business go to support their third adoption. I’m a huge fan of the sign above. I want to hang it in the bedroom over our bed!

Follow on Instagram here.

Stamps of Grace

I own this bracelet and love the daily reminder that the Lord is good no matter what.

I started reading Jessica’s blog a couple of years ago, before adoption was ever part of our own story. Her words encouraged me month after month when I would realize, once again, that I wasn’t pregnant. This past year, I ordered a bracelet from her Etsy shop, Stamps of Grace, and connected with Jessica on Instagram. I still read her blog and love following her family’s journey on Instagram. She and her husband are parents to the most adorable kids and they are currently fostering, as well. We’ve never met in person, but her words have been such an encouragement to me.

Follow on Instagram here.

Dear Mushka

The “Together” necklace. I wear it every day.

I met Katie almost nine years ago when I was a freshman in college. I joined a small group at the church I was attending at the time, and Katie was one of the leaders. I grew so much in my spiritual life that year, and that small group was one of the reasons why. Dear Mushka began as a blog in 2010, and in 2013, it became a jewelry brand as Katie and her husband Robert began raising and saving money to adopt their first child. Guys, the jewelry she creates is beautiful. I own several pieces, and I’ve bought several pieces for friends. Each piece comes with a corresponding scripture card. Now, Katie is branching out into apparel and artwork. I’m so amazed at her creativity.

Follow on Instagram here.

Do you know of any other shops that support adoption? What are your favorites?

Jamie Ivey’s “If You Only Knew”

Jamie Ivey’s “If You Only Knew”

book-3dI discovered Jamie Ivey about a year ago through Instagram. Someone I follow liked one of Jamie’s posts, and it popped up in my feed. Being the Instalurker I am, I scrolled through her photos and quickly discovered that she is a podcaster.

“A podcast. Huh, that’s interesting,” I thought. “Who even listens to those anymore?”

As it turns out, a lot of people listen to podcasts. In fact, millions of women (and men!) tune in to Jamie’s podcast, “The Happy Hour With Jamie Ivey” every week. I decided to download an episode and I was immediately hooked.

I’ve listened to nearly every episode of Jamie’s podcast now, and sometimes I feel like we’re real-life friends. (We’re not, and I’m sane enough to realize that. However, we’re sisters in Christ, so that’s better, right?) She and her guests have been a weekly encouragement to me. When Stephen and I started the adoption process, I went back and listened to every episode that covered adoption or foster care. (I tried convincing our adoption counselor to let me count those episodes toward my required education hours, but I was unsuccessful!) I’ve listened to Jamie speak truth and gospel week after week, and I’m constantly encouraged. I’m so thankful for Jamie and her podcast.

So, imagine my excitement when I learned that she was writing a book. I could not wait to get my hands on this book, so when I heard she was starting a launch team, I knew I had to be on it. I preordered the book, submitted the request for the launch team, and waited—impatiently—for confirmation that I was in.

One of the perks of being on the launch team is the opportunity to read the book early. Y’all, you will not want to miss this book when it’s released in January 2018. I highly recommend preordering the book so that it arrives on your doorstep (or electronically on your Kindle) on release day.

In If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free, Jamie practically shouts this message from the rooftop: Jesus is better.

That’s the theme of her book. In this memoir, Jamie recounts her struggles with sin and shame and invites her readers in to her life’s story. She writes with the same authenticity that you hear in her podcast. She’s real and honest. She urges her readers to strip away the labels they place on their own journeys (failure, cheater, addict, depressed, you fill in the blank) and reminds readers that our stories are not as unique as we think. And those labels we place on our stories? They aren’t labels from God.

When you look at your own story, maybe all you can see are the goof-ups, the mess-ups, the things you’re afraid of ever bringing up, even the parts that happened this week or this morning or five minutes before you started reading this chapter today. But if you’d turn your head to look at your story just a little bit differently, you’d see it’s actually the record of a faithful God, willing His unwilling child to return to him, loving you through all your unloveliness. — Jamie Ivey

Jamie weaves her own personal story together with truths from God’s Word. She vulnerably and beautifully shares her struggles, and by reading it, we see a clear picture of Jesus and the grace of God.

Being vulnerable—sharing our need for a Savior—points people to Jesus and not ourselves. — Jamie Ivey

Jamie reminds her readers that no one is too far gone to be rescued by God’s love and grace. She urges her readers to find their identity in Christ, not their sin or the false labels they wear.

As believers and followers of God, here’s our identity: We are women who are being cleansed, changed, and “conformed to the image of his Son” so that we look more like Him every day. We are daughters of the living God, covered in Christ’s righteousness, set apart for His own wise and merciful purposes. — Jamie Ivey

Um, can I get an Amen? Though written for women, I would encourage both women and men to read this book. Through sharing her story, Jamie gives a beautiful picture of the gospel and how God’s love, mercy and grace is better than anything else.

To pre-order If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey, visit Pre-order now and receive 20 percent off from Waterloo Style and five entries to win a 2-day getaway for two to Green Acres with travel included, a dinner with the Iveys, and a basket of Jamie’s favorite things.

Want to listen to the HAPPY HOUR but don’t know where to start? I recommend these:

Episode #66 with Amanda Jones

Episode #82 with Shay Shull

Episode #88 with Amy from the Bobby Bones Show

Episode #108 with Beth Moore (yes, *the* Beth Moore)

Episode #132 with Heather Avis

Episode #155 with Sara Hagerty

Episode #157 with Catherine Lowe

Episode #162 with Ellie Holcomb

The Lack of Christian Adoption Resources

The Lack of Christian Adoption Resources

Earlier this week I went to the Christian bookstore armed with birthday money and a desire to find some Christian books about adoption. Just a warning, this is going to be a rant.

I quickly learned that there are not many books out there. I, of course, found Dr. Moore’s books (Adopted for Life and The Gospel and Adoption); Tony Merida’s Orphanology; Steven Curtis Chapman’s Between Heaven and the Real World; and You Can Adopt Without Debt. Those are all wonderful, incredible resources. I recommend them. Other than that? I really couldn’t find anything.

So I headed to the devotionals, thinking I could find something there. I found several for mothers, which I don’t want because I am not one. I then found one for expectant mothers, so I picked it up with a glimmer of hope thinking, “Maybe this will work.” I flipped it open to a random page and read something about the amazing feeling a positive pregnancy test brings after months and months of negative tests. Considering I had just looked at yet another negative test this month, I flipped that book shut and walked away.

I know, I know: It seems like I’m whining. And yes, I am. I’m frustrated. If we, as Christians, say that we support adoption, care for adoptive and fostering families, and want to encourage adoption, then why are we not offering more resources that are written from a Christian perspective? Why can’t I find theologically sound adoption-related books at my Christian bookstore? Why do Bible studies about parenting not routinely address the fact that families are formed by more than blood? And good golly, let’s turn it from the other perspective—I also can’t find solid, theologically sound Christian resources for birth mothers.

It just seems like we’re missing something here. It seems like the Christian publishing industry, at large, is really missing an opportunity to minister to a whole stinkin’ lot of families.

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe there are oodles and oodles of Christian resources out there for adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive parents. If you know of any, send them my way.