Our story

While I’m normally a very private person and have remained quiet on much of our story here, God has been working on healing my heart, and giving me thankfulness and courage to share.  I feel compelled to finally share our journey to becoming a family, difficult though it may be, because of the incredible mercy that God showed to us; because I hope that it will be an encouragement to others; and most of all, because while Gus and Lula are blessed to have us, as many have pointed out, I want people to understand that we are so very, very blessed to have them.  So, here goes:

Keith and I desperately wanted children. We both had a deep desire to start a family, yet that desire didn’t seem to be materializing. One, two, three years went by. We decided to see a fertility specialist. This time in my life was characterized by lots of poking and prodding, and a deeply saddened heart. There was so much frustration pent up inside of me – feelings of inadequacy and hurt. I spent many hours praying and pleading with God for children, wrestling with the “why” of it all. Why would God give me the desire to be a mother, and not the ability to fulfill that desire? Why wouldn’t God give us children, when the Bible declares that they are a blessing?

Over the years that I wrestled with these questions and dealt with the deep feelings of sorrow and anger, a funny thing happened. God drew me closer to Him, leading me to rest in His goodness, to feel his presence. He taught me to trust in Him, regardless of the seeming hopelessness of my situation. A verse that I had read and heard many times before now became a promise that I cherished. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” To me, this verse spoke to God’s sovereignty and mercy in my life, and through His great mercy, He gave me faith to believe in it.

I began fertility drugs. The hormonal fluctuations playing on my already fragile emotions was difficult for me, and likely unbearable for those who had to be around me. And still there wasn’t that coveted “plus” sign on a pregnancy test. Months passed, and God reassured my heart. He held me in the palm of his hand, and he had plans for me. Then one day, there it was – the “plus” that I had been waiting years for. There were tears of joy and shaking hands, impromptu visits at five in the morning to share the joyous news with family. Rejoicing and thanking God for His goodness.
My sweet sister even made us a cake: "Oh happy day, a baby's on the way!"

But then, as days went by it became clear that that little “plus” was slipping away. From a mountaintop of joy, I was plunged into a valley of sorrow. But an amazing thing happened through the days and hours I spent curled up crying, mourning this little life that I would never know. God reached down and cradled me in His arms, giving me a supernatural peace. Never before had I felt His presence so intensely. His goodness in those hours was worth more to me than a thousand days of joy. And still, His promise of plans for the future gave me hope.

It was in the aftermath of this failed pregnancy that God began revealing these plans to us. It seemed to me that adoption was everywhere. At church, in books, blogs, and more and more, on my own heart. To every plea I had to God, it seemed that His answer was adoption. So we followed. Keith and I began the home study process and began hoping to adopt a baby domestically. We spent weeks gathering paperwork, remaining hopeful that this really was God’s plan for us, that we would have a baby in our arms in just a few months, as our social worker seemed confident.

But the night before our very last home study visit, I had a feeling that I couldn’t shake. I sat at my computer, driven by a supernatural urge. My heartstrings were being pulled toward international adoption. The process was longer, much longer. And there was no way we’d get a newborn. And we didn’t even qualify for any of the programs because of the minimum age requirements. And then I found Ethiopia. There was a photo of a little girl on the webpage with big dark eyes and creamy brown skin. And I knew.

The next day we told our social worker and started the even more drawn-out process that is international adoption. Finding an agency, like choosing a country, was easy-- there was only one that would work with us before my 25th birthday. God’s hand in our decisions became increasingly clear. His provision during the months that followed was amazing. The funds were supplied time and again. The patience, which is one of my greatest shortcomings, was miraculously given. The assurance to move forward, the confidence to trust – all generously gifted. God continued to work in our hearts, molding them to love the children He was preparing for us, and to yield joyfully to His plans.
Keith and I after our referral in our Amharic "Mama" and "Daddy" shirts.  

In late September and October, I felt a strong urge to pray for our children. I prayed fervently for a referral, but none came. And then, as the longest, but most spiritually enriching year of my life came to a close, it happened. I opened an email and saw two precious faces. When I saw that their birthdays were at the end of September and October, the time when I had felt such a strong urge to pray for them, I knew. These were the children that God had chosen for us from the beginning of time. They were ours. And we loved them.   

Entirely too much writing for one post, so more to come........
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maria said... Best Blogger Tips

Britt, what amazing words of testimony, such power. Thank you for being so vulnerable, God is definitely getting the glory. Can't wait to hear more.

Melissa said... Best Blogger Tips

This is so amazingly beautiful and moving. One of my friends is in Ethiopia right now, caring for her little boy who has not yet gotten Embassay approval to come home with her, while her two older children and her husband are waiting and praying hard for their quick return. Her journey has been one of the most heart-opening experiences I've been witness to. Thank you so much for being so brave and sharing your story-- as I prayed for them last night, I was so tempted to just beg for a quick Embassy date, but after watching her on this journey, I knew the best prayer was "Thy will be done." Lucky, lucky Gus and Lula.

Jenna said... Best Blogger Tips

Britt, I'm in tears. To listen to how God worked in His faithfulness, giving His perfect blessings, and His perfect gifts...He is so good. I'm so sorry for the pain you've had to go through - but wow, you have a beautiful story to tell. Thanks for sharing it here. I can't wait to hear the rest of it!

Faith said... Best Blogger Tips

My husband and I just spent a little over a year trying to conceive with no luck. I know those feelings of pain and sadness...especially when so many around seem to get pregnant so easily. I often questioned God's goodness and sovereignty. I thought my plans were best and I wanted them fulfilled. I felt embarrassed and pitied. I was hard of heart. Then the Lord told us to stop. That's it. To be still. It has been an overwhelming journey and I am ashamed of my lack of faithfulness to Him. But He is sustaining us and revealing areas of my heart where I was pursuing good things in hope that they would fill what only He can.
I could go on and on...but thank you for this post. Thank you for your honesty and for pointing to God and his perfect timing and goodness.
"My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

JJ said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing your story -- so emotional and honest. I could relate to a lot of your feelings. So glad God has worked in your life to bring your beautiful kiddos into your family - they are amazingly adorable.

MooShell said... Best Blogger Tips

Ahhhh....I wondered if there was a 'story' behind the adoption of your gorgeous children... I have been following your blog since our last miscarriage (four months ago) and have loved seeing your beautiful children (and your house) flourish... a friend of mine has just published a book about infertility/adoption/childlessness etc from a Christian perspective which you might be interested in (through Amazon), my infertility story (through IVF we were blessed with a now 3 year old son) is one of the 16 chapters which I'm sure would resonate with you...

-Katie Waddell said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting Britt!! Such a heartwarming story that completely proves what an AMAZING God we serve! So happy for you and your husband and those sweet babies!!!! God Bless!

Recreation Station said... Best Blogger Tips

I truly appreciate you sharing. We've just passed four years of hoping for a child and two months ago lost our first and only pregnancy. We're in the midst of all that sadness that you wrote about. Adoption has come up recently in discussion and I'm open to it more now than ever. We're still not giving up on the idea of having children naturally, just realizing that there is more than one way God can bless us with a family. Thank you so much for sharing this story because it's an incredible reminder that God's plans for us are good.


abi said... Best Blogger Tips

thanks. just thanks. from someone who needs the hope and encouragement.

Matt&Chelsea said... Best Blogger Tips

Such an incredible story, Britt. My parents adopted my youngest three siblings after years of fertility trouble. My mom always says, "If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it" Your story is so inspiring. You have a beautiful family and I love reading your blog. Thank you so so much for sharing.


Stephanie Marsh said... Best Blogger Tips

Britt, thank you for sharing your story. I know a few couples that are in a similar situation as you and your husband were...unable to conceive. They both have a heart for adoption. It is encouraging to see that you drawing near to God brought Him nearer to you during your struggles.

Jamie Laslo said... Best Blogger Tips

Isn't it wonderful how our stories not only bear significance for us, but for so many others as well? Thank you for being brave and sharing! I know over the years as I have told the stories of the many, many babies I have lost God has used the words to heal my heart and also connect me with so many other dear women. We aren't alone and in that togetherness He gives us strength.

Betsy said... Best Blogger Tips

As an adopted child, I know first hand how wonderful God's provision can be! I am so thankful for the way He protected my life even before my birth as He has done with your children. How awesome that you trusted Him and now get to enjoy His provision. Thank you so much for sharing, it reminded me of how thankful I am for my parents.

Megan @ Megity's Handmade said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing your testimony. It's very touching. Can't wait to read the rest!

Katy said... Best Blogger Tips

What a beautiful story - thank you for sharing, it is just so beautiful! What a mighty God we serve!

Angela said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you so much for sharing your beatiful story of faith. Your testimony of God's love is so amazing. I'm so happy for your beautiful family!

Miranda said... Best Blogger Tips

I love your story! I too have a heart for adoption so this whole post made my face tear streaked! Your family is so beautiful and what a blessing that you were able to see and accept God's best for your life. I sent out an email to all my friends sharing your blog because you guys are just darling! Gus falling asleep in the bouncer and Lula's poop-fest were some of my favorites! And we all adore your decor style! Love reading your blog!!!!! XO

Douglas said... Best Blogger Tips

Just love it. Though our journeys to adoption in Ethiopia are very different, I feel the power of the same sweet and merciful Lord. It's always a pleasure to read your blog. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Tyler said... Best Blogger Tips

thank you for sharing. blessings!

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for sharing your story! it's not easy putting yourself out there, but what an awesome testimony of how faithful our God is! what an awesome story!

Jane said... Best Blogger Tips

wow thank you so much for sharing! I too long for children, but am not yet married so (whilst praying for a godly husband to come along) am thankful for the children he has put in my life, especially 2 gorgeous neices and 2 lovely godsons!

AaReAn said... Best Blogger Tips

what a beautiful beautiful and honest post. I love when I come across blogs like yours. Creative, uplifting and just wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes...what a wonderful blessing that you have these two absolutely beautiful children in your life...they are honestly the cutest things I have ever seen (besides my baby girl of course haha) God works in mysterious ways...always for the better of our beings. Thank you Britt. And I love love your creativity! Inspirational indeed!

Laura said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for this post! I've been there, and it was horrible and beautiful at the same time. 2007 was a year of pain and sorrow for us; we lost 4 pregnancies after years of infertility treatment. I also found a sanctuary of peace with God during that year. I stand in awe of what He knows I can take, and how he guided us toward our son.

On our 15th wedding anniversary in 2008, I realized that I was pregnant. We were in the waiting stage of Int'l adoption in Kazakhstan, so this baby came without all the usual daily shots and fertility treatments. This baby, my 6th pregnancy (our first was successful, he's now 9), was a little miracle. Two days later, we received a referral of our next miracle: a blonde, blue-eyed, peachy skinned little boy.

On father's day 2008, we got custody or our baby boy, and four months later gave birth to our dauther. In a four month stretch, we went from one child to three, two in diapers. Another lesson learned: when praying, begging, and wishing for more children, be sure to say they don't all have to happen in the same year. :o)

I know the pain and loss you have been through. I also know the comfort and solace our God wrapped around each of us in our times of great loss. Thank you for sharing your story with the web, and perhaps another hopeful mother will read and find solace.

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

I found you through seeing your kitchen on YHL's blog (and then found your etsy shop and bought some art...haha!) - I've loved reading through your blog...your children are adorable! My mom grew up in Addis Ababa because her parents were missionaries there... I'm married and we have 2 sweet girls (a 2 and 4 year old) and I've been feeling lately that I really want to adopt... I know it's not the right time yet, but I'm praying that one of these days it will be. :) I'm looking forward to following your blog - thanks for sharing your story!

Tonia said... Best Blogger Tips

What an amazing story...and blessing. God always has a plan. Our sweet boy came exactly 3 weeks from the day we found out about him and has been blessing us ever since.


Keri said... Best Blogger Tips

Though we already have two beautiful girls, I just found out on Monday that I am no longer able to have any more children. I am heartbroken but I trust that God has bigger plans for our family. We have always wanted to adopt and are excited to begin that process now earlier than we had thought.. Thank you for sharing your story, it is very encouraging to me!

Keaton Lovell said... Best Blogger Tips

Found your blog through Pinterest. I can relate to your story. I recently had a miscarriage in late July. I have never felt God's presence and peace so much in my life. In September, God was laying adoption on my heart, heavily. Not for the first time, but for the first time in awhile. My husband and I both know adoption is what God has called us to do. I had such an urgency in September/October to turn in the application. And now, this upcoming Monday, we have our first home study :) God is good, all time. I can't wait to see what child/children will become ours. Just as God adopted us into His eternal family, we will adopt in our family. Showing the world Jesus.

Keaton Lovell said... Best Blogger Tips

Found your blog through Pinterest. I can relate to your story. I recently had a miscarriage in late July. I have never felt God's presence and peace so much in my life. In September, God was laying adoption on my heart, heavily. Not for the first time, but for the first time in awhile. My husband and I both know adoption is what God has called us to do. I had such an urgency in September/October to turn in the application. And now, this upcoming Monday, we have our first home study :) God is good, all time. I can't wait to see what child/children will become ours. Just as God adopted us into His eternal family, we will adopt in our family. Showing the world Jesus.

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