Saturday, September 28, 2013


The past eight days have been a whirlwind, to say the least.  Since Friday of last week, we've traveled between two different states (and one district), putting over 1,100 miles on our new-to-us car.  (Yes, the car buying saga is over - thank you Jesus!)

I eluded to the craziness the last time I posted, and now here we are on the other side of half of it.  Ethan's appointment with his cardiologist has come and gone and we spent all of 42 hours on our trip to our nation's capital - both of which were pretty dang good.

The news from Dr. I? Ethan's heart continues to remain strong and healthy.  The pressures are stable and the conduit isn't showing any signs of narrowing.  Praise God! I believe the pressure gradient was around 50 mmHG, which is a only a minimal increase from March.  It's not ideal, but it's stable, so we'll take it.  The pacemaker, though, is the cause for a three-month return visit instead of six.  It has somewhere between nine months to a year of battery life left, so it's time to start keeping a closer eye on it.

The million dollar question is if the battery and conduit will need to be replaced around the same time, but, at this point, only time will tell.  We'll head back in December and most likely have a much more specific "game plan" conversation then.

God's got this, though.  I just know it.

So, about D.C.

If you live in North Carolina, it's likely you've seen our family in some form of media over the past few days.  I'm not gonna lie - the cameras made me cringe.  But, the Lord totally calmed my heart and allowed me to share Ethan's story clearly and, hopefully, effectively.  Testifying at the hearing was not like anything I could've imagined! It was such an honor to be there representing families all across our country.

If you'd like to check out some of the coverage, I've compiled a few links for the "baby book".  The news clips are just a couple minutes long, but being in the TV studio room for a couple of them was cuh-razy.  If you're not interested in watching all 90 minutes of the actual hearing, my testimony and a couple follow-up questions start around the 43-minute mark of the link below.  For the record, I personally think the entire hearing was fascinating!

U.S. Senate Committee Hearing:

News14 - D.C. and North Carolina:

WWAY - Wilmington, NC:

WSOC - Charlotte, NC:

WRAL - Raleigh, NC:

News and Observer - Raleigh, NC:

It was an experience that won't be forgotten, that's for sure.  I'll share more photos from our adventure later, but I'll leave you with these two tonight...

Thanks for all the support and love!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life lately...

Ever since I can remember, I've been a major procrastinator.  I have vivid, terrible memories of pulling all-nighters in college to study or write papers, and the current laundry situation in our house proves that I don't tend to do things until I have to.

Right now, I have a lot going on.  You already know that we're starting the adoption process, but you may not know that our family is going to Washington D.C. next week or that I'm traveling to India in February or that Ethan has his semiannual cardiology appointment on Friday.

For real.

There are currently 25 e-mails in my inbox and all but seven of them are related to one of those things above.  At least three of those seven are e-mails that I should have responded to months ago, but still haven't.  (Sorry, Jen!)

So, like any good procrastinator, instead of sitting down to write testimony for the upcoming D.C. trip (or respond to long overdue e-mails), I'm taking a breather.  This blog is like my therapist, and writing here refreshes and calms me.  It's also important to me that I document these times in our lives and, boy, are we in the midst of some things right now. So, here I sit.

Let's break it down, shall we?

We're still no further along in the process than we were last week, but we're just as confident that this is God's plan for growing our family and sharing His gospel.  We continue to appreciate your prayers for clarity and wisdom as we move forward in making decisions.

Yep.  Between this trip and adoption, God is placing a sense of urgency on my heart for telling others about Him - from the people who live across the street to the people who live across the world.  I'll be traveling to India in February of 2014 with my church and would love your prayers! You can start by praying that the travel funds will be provided, but more importantly that our hearts would be prepared for what God is going to do in and through us during those 10ish days.

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to share Ethan's story with members of March of Dimes and Senator Kay Hagan's staff.  From there, Senator Hagan invited our family - and me, specifically - to testify at a congressional hearing for a federal newborn screening bill which she is sponsoring.  This is kind of a big deal, and I'm kind of freaking out about it.  It wasn't too long ago that the mere thought of public speaking made me want to vomit.  That reaction has subsided a bit, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about this one.  But, as I was reminded today, they're just people like the rest of us and I'm the expert in Ethan's story.  Plus, I've never been to D.C. and I'm SO looking forward to exploring the city with my boys!

Ethan's Heart
I truly have no idea what to expect on Friday.  Some days I worry that he's winded, and some days I wonder where all of his energy comes from.  Intuition is telling me that we may be looking at surgery before this time next year, but who knows.  God is a big God and Ethan is a healthy kid - and they both surprise me on a daily basis.  Prayers for wisdom on Dr. I's part, and peace on our parts, are greatly appreciated!

Whew.  Just typing all that out makes it seem a little less daunting.  Here's to hoping there's enough room left in the bucket for things like grocery shopping and folding clothes after these "big rocks" are taken care of...

Y'all have a great week!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

There is no Plan B...

A man's heart plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Friends, I have a story to tell you. 

As y'all know, I've "gone public" in the past few months with my infertility struggles.  What you might not know is that in the past year or so, I've found myself frustrated and at peace, expectant and let-down, full of hope and full of sadness.  It has been quite the journey and, honestly, one that I expected to culminate in pregnancy and the birth of a beautiful baby.


Our plans aren't always God's plans, are they? While that can cause much frustration and many questions, I've found great comfort in knowing that God's way is always "Plan A".  Nothing catches Him off guard.  Nothing surprises Him.  He is sovereign and so incredibly good.

So, with all that said, let me tell you that this story has nothing to do with infertility or me being pregnant.  It has everything to do with obedience to and faith in a God that is way bigger than me.  It seems that He is in the business of reshaping not only Ethan's heart, but mine as well.

About two months ago, a wonderful friend of mine invited and encouraged Jeramie and me to participate in a three-week long fast with her and her husband.  Jeramie and I were on the cusp of a big decision as it related to my "unexplained infertility" and I was feeling uncertain and overwhelmed.  I had a sense that we should hold off on treatments, so it seemed like a great time to step away and intentionally seek the Lord's guidance. That was July 8th.

We just so happened to have home group the first night of our fast and it was one of the first weeks of a new series - Radical by David Platt.  If you've read the book, you know how heavily you struggle with figuring out how to live the way Jesus commands us to live. Our group had a particularly tough conversation that evening, but it was then that I first felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart for what it meant for our family.  Being the stubborn person I am, though, I ignored it the best I could.

For the next three weeks, I was inundated with - but continued to push away - those tugs and whispers.  All the while, I took pregnancy test after pregnancy test to see if the fast was "paying off".  At that point, I honestly expected to find out I was pregnant without the help of drugs and medications and I was ready to declare the miracle God had worked in my body. With each negative response, however, the call became stronger and stronger.

On August 5th, exactly one month from the start of the fast (and a week out from having finished it), Jeramie and I sat down together for dinner at Chick-Fil-A.  I told him that I was still feeling some hesitation about starting our next round of treatments and I wasn't sure why.  I described it as if God had put a lead jacket on me and was telling me to "just wait".

As I was explaining all of this to Jeramie, I noticed that he was nodding in agreement with me.  It was in that moment, when he looked at me and said, "Have you ever thought about adopting?", that I knew I couldn't fight it any longer.

God had clearly and separately spoken to Jeramie and me over the course of the fast; little did I know that he had been hearing and trying to ignore the exact same thing.  As we sat in our booth that night, with a t-ball team beside us and waffle fries in front of us, God made it abundantly clear that adoption is His undeniable plan for our family.

We don't really know what that looks like right now, but we're confident that God is calling us to stop our plan for birthing a baby and pursue His plan for adopting one.  Yes, we still fully believe that God can bless us with additional biological children; we've even joked that we may end up with a gaggle of them before this is all said and done.  It's exciting and terrifying all at once.

We are currently overwhelmed with where to start, but we're simply obeying His call and trusting He'll provide.  This whole process is painting an incredibly beautiful picture of the Gospel and our 'adoption' as children of God.  We are humbled to experience it in this way.

We covet your prayers during this time, specifically as we discern the next steps we're to take.

And for the child who will find their way into our arms and hearts...

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
-John 14:18 

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