CELEBRATING 13 YEARS!! (We are officially a teenager)

Coming upon our anniversary here at ABBA Adoption our family is in celebration mode with several birthdays.  One in particular in the past couple weeks was my son Aiden, who just turned 13!  The big birthday!!  Finally a TEEN!!  He is our 4th child to celebrate that milestone and each time it is a fresh (and terrifying) feeling of all things new to experience; later bedtime, more choices in movies (with strong parental oversight, of-course), more independence, and more responsibility.  Then in our family there is the “finally can have gum” and coffee!  I know…..crazy, but that’s the rules…..no gum or coffee till your 13!  It’s more of a maturity issue.  It gives them something tangible they haven’t been able to freely do before and now they can have those freedoms.  Maturity…..yes, that time in life when you expect some of the childish behaviors to disappear and for the now teenager to step it up a notch in the responsibilities!  It’s an exciting time of new experiences for both the child and the parents.

In pondering that milestone for my son, I got to thinking about ABBA Adoption and what new things lie ahead.  We are spreading our wings in new areas.  Some that we have only dreamed about, that now get to become reality, like chewing gum freely for the first time.  I mean, you’ve chewed gum, but now there is a freedom to enjoy that privilege in a way you’ve never been able to before.  Or that morning cup of coffee.  From your first sip, you pucker from the bitterness of it, then, as your taste for coffee matures, you enjoy the warmth it brings and the fascination of having it in many formats; black, flavored creamer, latte’, or espresso double shot, please and thank you!

We are kicking off our 13th anniversary with many new things to come!  AND WE ARE EXCITED!  You will see a whole new web-site and new marketing strategies coming very soon!  We want you, our adoptive families, birth moms and friends to learn more about us as an agency and what sets us apart.  This will give ABBA Adoption the ability to have more opportunities to minister to those that need us most!

In our 13 years, we have walked with well over 200 adoptive families and birth parents in this journey of adoption all the while maintaining our strong pro-life, pro-family, pro-ministry calling to our community!  Thank you for allowing us to be a vital part of your life!

HOPEFUL EXPECTATIONS

We all go through seasons of life.  I personally am a spring and fall kind of girl.  I love the freshness spring time brings, with the wonderful aroma of flowers blooming, particularly honeysuckle.  In the fall, I love the change of colors and the crispness in the night air.  In both seasons I enjoy the sunshine on my face and a blanket to cuddle with under the stars.  In both seasons, you can find me sipping coffee (or tea) in my favorite spot in the evening s and early mornings, on my patio.   Summers in Arkansas are just too hot.  Almost unbearable to enjoy any activity outside.  It gets to the point that even your swimming pool becomes too hot to swim in.  And the winter, well anyone who knows me knows how I hate to be cold.  I get “bone cold” and just can’t get warm.

2016 has felt much like a season of summer and winter combined to me.  It’s been like the heat that presses on you where you pray for a drop of water on your tongue in hopes that it will bring relief.  Or like those harsh winter days where you are so cold, nothing seems to be able to bring warmth to your body and you are so tense from shivering to the point where you physically hurt.

I remember several years ago my family and some of our closest friends decided to take a camping trip…..in August…..in 113 degree temps.  What normally should have taken 10 minutes to put up a tent, took nearly three hours because of the heat bearing down to where it was impossible to even hold the tent poles in your hands.  I recall watering them down just to try and bring relief so we could get the poles together.  At the same time having to constantly take breaks to make sure we were staying hydrated.  It was pure misery and something I have vowed to never do again in the heat of summer.

We all go through seasons of being uncomfortable.  It’s only natural to want comfort.  We gravitate towards what brings us comfort naturally, without thought.  These uncomfortable seasons aren’t pleasant but they are useful.  Ecclesiastes 3 talks about there being a time for everything under the sun.  There is a time to tear down and a time to build.  A time to weep and a time to laugh.  Wherever you are, whichever season of life you are in, I want to encourage you to be all there!  Look for beauty, for it is all around, even in the brokenness.

This has been a season of brokenness, pain, sorrow, and loneliness to say the least.  A season where I have grown to trust the Lord, lean on Him to comfort me and trust Him fully along the way.  Even in the darkest days, God has been so faithful to show His grace and allow me glimpses of the beauty that only He can bring.  I look forward to the new season, and a new year.

I see families that come into adoption in much the same light, broken with raw hearts and emotions.  The expectation of starting a family, but guarding their hearts because they just don’t know how much more disappointment they can take.  Often times they have been through a season of failed pregnancies, failed fertility treatments, and the hope of a child seems so distant; the longing for a child becomes immensely painful.  God put them on the path of adoption, a glimmer of light in a valley of darkness.  A place to be vulnerable and completely reliant upon Him.  The path is not easy, there is a lot of brokenness, for that is what encompasses adoption in the first place.  God gives us the ability to see beauty even in a broken mess.  He gives them hopeful expectations.

So what are my HOPEFUL EXPECTATIONS for 2017?  I refuse to make New Year’s resolutions this year!  WHY no New Year’s Resolutions?  Well….by January 15th I feel like a complete failure, it’s way too much pressure for my vulnerable heart to take.  Of-course I want to lose weight, get into the best shape of my life, put on a bikini by summer and grow spiritually by leaps and bounds.  All that is great, but (maybe I am the only one….maybe not) I am so OCD that when I hit a slump (again by January 15th), I feel like a complete failure!  Then here comes my pity party!  I refuse to put that pressure on myself this year, but instead cling to being FAITHFUL and INTENTIONAL in all that I do.  I look forward to all that God will do through ABBA Adoption, and how He plans to use me.  Because I often say we are vessels for God to use and at the end of the day if all we do is an adoption, we have missed the mark. Tori and I are excited to share with you a sampling of what is on the horizon of our hearts.

  • The Gathering: Tori and I will lead in a small devotional and time of fellowship (of-course there will be coffee!) followed by intentional prayer and accountability for women in our community that desire authentic community/relationships
    • For Details check out our FB page
  • Blogging: Get ready….we are women with much to say J. We desire to encourage adoptive and birth families alike as they journey through the process of adoption.  (feel free to comment and give us your thoughts)
  • Videos: Seriously…..I had to have a third point and Tori is shaking her head at me….but here it is….videos! We plan to put out videos to go with our blogs, and our devotionals of The Gathering.  We are new to this, so don’t expect much! J

Our prayer for you as a new year begins is to look diligently for the beauty in the brokenness of life and be encouraged in the HOPEFUL EXPECTATIONS God has for you in this next season!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you are interested in learning more about our adoptive parent programs visit our website

 

WHY ME?!

Last night while I was on my drive home I received a call from a young lady who was distraught.  She was pregnant!  She has no help!  She wanted an abortion but couldn’t afford it!  Her life is in a mess!  She feels alone!  The father is physically abusive!  She’s angry!  She sees no hope!  The question of the two hour call was WHY ME?!  The anguish she felt flowed violently off her tongue and pierced my heart.

The short answer to that question is sin.  The story of this young lady is a common conversation with ladies I work with.  The messiness of life.  Dreams, hopes, aspirations that seem to not play out in the reality of life as we imagined in our minds.  Then the time comes we are face to face with deciding what our next step is, for her, will she parent OR will she make an adoption life plan?

But, haven’t we all been this young lady?  Maybe not in an unplanned pregnancy, but rather life in general.  Be it through devastating loss, broken families, shattered relationships, financial ruin, natural disasters, sickness, human injustices, and, well………we can fill in the blank with many life circumstances.  So how do we move forward?

ANSWER: Submitting to Christ and his Lordship in our lives.  In James 4, we are faced with the hard reality of our sinful flesh, kind of a tongue lashing about our sinfulness as James doesn’t mince words or thoughts about sin and our separation from Christ, but he gives a clear directive in verse 7 which states “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

We live in a fallen world.  From the moment that sin entered the world we all have suffered from our sinful nature and sin around us.  I struggle with my flesh on a daily basis.  Sometimes the heartache and pain I’ve face has been so overwhelming, and not necessarily a direct cause of my own sin but sin around me.  As I was listening to this sweet girl spill her life story, I couldn’t but help reflect on those times when I’ve asked that very question…..Why Me Lord?

As a child of God, when I am faced with difficulties, my goal is to look at the promises in God’s word and cling tightly to his grace.  Sometimes I have to step back and count my blessings.  Look at all the ways God has worked his sovereign tapestry in my life.  When I look at the underside, it looks so messy, but what the finished product produces is a beautiful piece of art that His hands sewed together in my life.  By the way, needles hurt!  But they are essential in repairing what is ripped and torn.

For the young lady I spoke about earlier, God could be doing the work of grace through showing his love and grace through the tapestry of adoption.  My prayer for her is that she would come to know His love in a personal way and follow His sovereign plan for her life.  For me, when life is difficult and I am questioning God, may I remember who I am in comparison to who He is!

1 Peter 5:10

What has been your response in the midst of a “Why Me?” moment?

If you find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy situation and you want to talk about if adoption is right for you, I’d love to speak with you.

ABBA Adoption: 501-776-2566

www.abbaadoption.com

BLOWING SNOT BUBBLES

Snot bubble

I know….ewww…..gross!  But seriously!  Have you ever found yourself so grieved, crying uncontrollably that you felt as you could fill a pool of sorrows from the pain and tears that you find yourself trying to breathe and looking for a Kleenex?  You know, because you have a giant snot bubble protruding!  Then there are the tears of joy!  Something you have prayed earnestly for!  Something so grand and awesome, you are in awe of how God answered your prayers in such a big way!  And for certain, there is abundant rejoicing and the occasional…..you guessed it, snot bubble!  Or how about being with a group of friends and you are laughing so hard you can’t catch your breath, the tears are flowing like the waterfall over a cliff, you’re bent over because your stomach is literally getting a workout (crossfit style, of-course), and here it comes…..a snot bubble!

I have been in each of those situations, yes I know, TMI!  Today, I was going through some books in my office, kinda doing a reorganization and came across a scrapbook that I put together depicting the first couple years of ABBA Adoption.  As I was flipping through the book I was faced with back to back adoptions where snot bubbles made it in the pictures.  I think where this journey of life has taken me these days, this really stood out to me.  One of anguish yet peace and the other of joy and thankfulness.  Both, an answered prayer.

PICTURE 1 This is a young lady who found herself in a crisis pregnancy.  Never thought she would ever be faced with making such hard decisions at such a young age.  Reflecting to the “what if I hadn’t” in life, yet faced with the reality of her actions.  But she is strong!  She is selfless!  She decides that this child is worth having a life.  Her bravery and fearlessness to choose what she feels is best for this precious baby hurts to the core of her being yet she has peace in knowing she is providing for this baby through her life plan of adoption.

I immediately reflected to how I felt a few times in my life with the most recent losing my dad.  As I had the privilege to sit and hold my dad as he took his last final breath, the pain was so unbearable!  I sobbed till I was choking!  I hated he was no longer with me.  No more watching sports with my dad.  Spending time grilling together was over.  Our long talks on the back porch by the pool would be no more!  As much as I was in agony, I was also at peace that my dad would no longer have to suffer in this fallen world.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” ~ Psalm 147.3

PICTURE 2 I’ll never forget speaking with this sweet couple for the very first time.  The husband was a bit cautious………really I am putting it mildly……..he was skeptical because ABBA Adoption was a new adoption agency (I however wasn’t new to adoption work).  Adoption is very expensive and they lived in a different state.  He put on such a hard manly front and his poor sweet wife was taken aback thinking he had offended me.  Actually, he never bothered me, he was being the leader of his home and wanted to ensure his wife wasn’t going to get hurt.  Nevertheless, the hard shell broke, I gained his trust, and they signed on with ABBA Adoption as one of our first families.  He took the risk!  They matched with a birth mother and looked forward with nervous anticipation as the birth of the baby approached.  The birth mother wanted the baby placed in the daddy’s hands first (she also knew he was a teddy bear).  I truly don’t think I have ever seen a man cry so hard!  He was in awe!  He was thanking the Lord for the gift of life through adoption and the opportunity that he and his wife had to show the love of Christ to a lady who needed to see grace in her own life.  I have to say, this snot bubble picture is one of my absolute favorites!  Every time I gaze at this picture I am reminded of how God breaks through the hard shell of our sinful hearts and does such an amazing work of sanctification in our lives when we will just release and trust him.  AND THEN…….I giggle!  I unequivocally LOVE this picture!

In my own life I have been faced with trials, fears, and uncertainties.  I have prayed BIG things.  I have relinquished control and gave it all to the Lord.  He has answered prayers in ways I have never anticipated.  Everything from making provisions to giving me the desires of my heart!

“You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them.  You did not withhold Your manna from them, and providing water to quench their thirst.” ~ Nehemiah 9.20

PICTURE 3 This is a mental picture!  It’s the times with friends and family.  It’s those moments when your kids/husband say or do something so insanely funny, you’re rolling on the floor with tears.  The time you’re hanging with friends and the laughter becomes uncontrollable, your stomach is hurting, you can’t breathe, you make eye contact….and it just intensifies, and then yes, the snot bubble comes and the tears are flowing and you just need to pull it together to get through the rest of the story.  I love these moments in life!  They are precious pictures engraved in the heart.

“Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs.  Then the nations said “The Lord has done spectacular things for them.” The Lord has done spectacular things for us.  We are overjoyed” ~ Psalm 126.2-3

What’s your snot bubble moment?

To learn more about adoption services, visit ABBA Adoption at www.abbaadoption.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY! HONORING THE MAN WHO MADE ME HIS

Today we celebrate my dad turning 74.  Today, however my daddy is laying in a hospital bed frail and weak.  He is in kidney failure, dementia, has double pneumonia, and CIDP.  Needless to say, this is a hard birthday.  I do not know if this will be the last birthday my dad will have on this earth.  There is so much uncertainty, but what I do know is that I have a God who loves him and has ordained his days and today I am thankful for the life of Roger David Barnhill.  As I approach this day, I wonder….How to honor the man who taught me what ADOPTION = LOVE is all about!

This will be raw and some of this will be hard to write, and for some, to read, but adoption comes out of the messiness and brokenness of life!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wombs” ~ Psalm 147:3

My mom was a single mom with two kids, myself and my brother Danny.  As I reflect on life as a very young girl, I remember a lot of disappointment from empty promises, chaos, broken relationships, instability, drama, and a mad little girl who really didn’t trust men.  This was due to a broken home where my biological father was an alcoholic, drug addict, and abuser.  A lot of hurt!  These types of situations put children at-risk for many injustices and my brother and I were no exception.  My mother worked as a waitress, doing all she could to provide for our family.

One evening my mom was in her room of our apartment getting ready for a date.  I was stooping in anger!  Truth be known, I was probably raging war in my mind.  A knock on the door…..I rushed to open it.  “Hello, my name is Roger”  “WE DON’T NEED NO MAN AROUND HERE!”….S L A M!!!!  Yes, I slammed the door in his face!  My strawberry blonde, freckle face, angry self wanted nothing to do with this man.  However, this did not seem to deter him or my mother from going out with him.  It didn’t stop there.  I was just not nice at all to this man!  Every opportunity I could to be ugly and push this man away, I took!  The last thing I wanted was any man taking up my mom’s time or trying to win the heart of myself and my brother.  The good news as I saw it was that he traveled, lived out of state and when he came to town he stayed at a hotel and we would get to go swimming.  Outside of that, I could care less if the man existed.

Going on a couple years of him coming into town, dating my mom and leaving (which I was always glad when he left), my 11th birthday was coming up.  The weekend he was in town prior to my birthday he got down on my level and told me that he wouldn’t be in-town for my birthday, but he was going to make a special birthday call to me……….”I promise” he said!  This was before the time of cell phones…..you know the ages where you had party-lines, collect calls, and paid a butt load for a long-distance phone call.  Oh…..and someone had to be home to pick up the phone, because the phone was attached by a cord to the wall.  My response……”Don’t make me any promises!”  That simple promise raged emotions in me that could have definitely started World War III!  I despised him (although he was growing on me), but to make a promise!!  I had plenty of promises broken to me in my short life and nothing made me angrier!  However, that late afternoon, the phone rang, my mom answered and immediately told me the phone call was for me.  “Happy Birthday!” rang out on the opposite end.  That sealed the deal!  He kept a promise!  A promise just for me!  It was all about me!  He knew exactly what my tender heart needed and he won me over!

My mom and Roger married when I was a couple weeks from turning 12.  This man that I tormented would now make a huge mark in my life.  Not only did he want to marry my mom, he wanted to take this fire cracker of a girl and her hyper little brother and make them his own.  He loved us!  He wanted to show us what a daddy was all about.  He became in my eyes, larger than life!  You know we say in adoption there is nature and nurture, I believe God blends those elements because when we are adopted we just simply……..become!

Adoption comes out of the messiness and brokenness of life!  Life was messy!  I was broken!  In the physical earthly sense and this man, no blood relation, took me in as his own.  Not because he had to!  Not because he was looking to gain something!  Simply put….He loved!  He loved our family with an unconditional love and wanted to make us whole.

I was broken spiritually as well.  But God the Father, my Abba Father, sent his Son Jesus to take my messy, broken spiritual life and with unconditional love, He poured out His blood on the cross so that I may have eternal life, whole and complete in Him!  Simply put…..He loves!

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” ~ John 15:12-13

Here are a few things, be it nature or nurture, my dad, who loved me and took me as his own, influenced in my life

  1. Love: He loved us!
  2. Family is More Than Blood: We were family from “I do”. There was no denying who my daddy was.  He showed me what a daddy is all about!
  3. Sacrifice: He gave up his freedom to make us a family
  4. Hard Work: Nothing is just given to you, you must work hard
  5. Strength and Courage: Never let your past hurts, disappointments, and mistakes define your future
  6. Failure: It’s a part of life, learn and grow from there
  7. Make Goals: Know where you are heading
  8. Coffee: Life is always better with coffee
  9. Be Willing to Change: In his vulnerability, my dad showed that prejudices can be removed when you open your heart to love
  10. Read Directions: He never did, which often times ended with something thrown in the pool, so to keep calm and get the project done, just read the directions (somethings we learn to do the opposite of what we see J)
  11. Car Issues: That is what mechanics are for
  12. Love of Sports: Yes, we share the love of football, basketball, and baseball…..He made me a Cubs fan, I guess that is finally paying off J
  13. Family Walks: One of my fond memories is walking for ice cream
  14. Back Porch Talks: lots of life stories are shared on the back porch, with a cup of coffee, of-course
  15. Integrity: Your name and hand-shake is your bond!
  16. Promises: Keep them!
  17. Nicknames: They are a part of who we are…..”Tootsie”…….I’m sure spoke to my prissiness and “Michael” spoke to the fact that I was such a tomboy (a play off my middle name, Michelle)
  18. Vacations should always include an extra set of keys to the vehicle
  19. Manners: There are no excuses to not have them
  20. The Look: It’s a deadly force and can be more intimidating and sting harsher than any spanking ever could
  21. Dogs: They are an essential part of the family.  My dad loves his dogs
  22. Pinwheel Cookies: The marshmallow and chocolate goodness should always be a pantry staple!  ALWAYS!
  23. Movies: Sweet memories are made with a good movie, buttered popcorn, coke and TWIZZLERS candy, of-course
  24. Affection: Kiss and hug those you love, particularly your spouse and kids

What was produced was a daddy’s girl!  I love my daddy!

Thank you dad for your sacrificial love!  You have been a blessing and I am so thankful that God chose you to be my daddy!  Thank you for adopting me and making me your own!  I’m so glad you never gave up on me.  Happy Birthday big guy, I love you!

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LIFE CELEBRATIONS

It’s mid afternoon!  If you know anything about me at all, you know it’s time for a piece of chocolate and a cup of coffee.  I must get my afternoon energy kicked into gear!  I have been reflecting all week about birthdays and celebrations.  This couple weeks in particular, our family has had a lot to celebrate which is why I am more likely to share what is on my heart.

We began Friday the 10th with my husband’s sister and her family with a trip to Hot Springs.  We don’t get to visit often as we live a few hours from each other, but when we do, our time is always special and our bonds are strong.  We went to the Mid-America Science Museum, a family favorite.  This is fun for the entire family from our youngest members to the oldest, we all love it there!  My brother-in-law makes it a point to do everything he can to spoil my kids.  He started off by getting each kiddo a gift at the museum souvenir store then when we decided to go full family competition at some bowling, he thought it would be a good idea to give in to the ever-strong calling of the vending machines.  My youngest kid’s eyes always light up when we pass by those things.  They are obsessed!   I have no doubt we completely cleaned out one of those toy capsule vending machines.  We left the bowling alley with one injury as the big kids (I’m including the men in that category) decided to compete with one of those power boxing machines.  Everyone had a blast but it got me thinking how funny life can be sometimes.  How you can have so many differences with someone and God will use the common things that you love like family and kids to unite you in a way that is indescribable.  That’s Danny and me.  We are as different as the big city girl who loves to shop vs. the deep woods of the country boy who you’ll find on a dirt track in the heat of summer….no thank you, give me some air conditioning please!  Air conditioning and the great outdoors….that’s a blog for another time!

Saturday we spent the day at my husband’s family reunion.  Uncle Joe and his wife Judy are always very diligent to get the family together for a feast and good times to be had.  I always enjoy going to these reunions.  Quite frankly I am very lucky to say that I truly enjoy my husband’s extended family.  His family is huge and I have a hard time, even after all these years keeping everyone straight with who goes to who.  But the genuine hugs and “I love you” and “come see us” are something that not only I love, but want my kids to experience how special these moments are.  Cousin Angela had everyone do their thumb print and name on a family tree.  What a great gift to give her parents.  And believe me, this is no small tree with a few thumb prints, it is filled!

That Sunday we enjoyed celebrating my husband’s birthday.  I have been blessed with an amazing husband who is my partner in life and ministry.  He is very giving of his time and energy to our family.  There is no doubt in my mind that I could not do what I’ve been called to do if it weren’t for his full support.  We are in this together!  We celebrated with his sister and her family.  I was determined to make his favorite desserts, Kandi’s Banana Pudding and Bourbon Pecan Pie.  I also, for an added bonus made my nephew Chase’s favorite dessert, Apple Fritters.  We swam, we laughed, we enjoyed the precious time of family surrounded by my in-laws and our two sweet grandbabies.  AND……my brother-in-law gave me a break from the grill and cooked the burgers to perfection.

The very next day it was my turn to celebrate (I told Chris very early in our relationship that if he ever forgot my birthday I’m sure that was cause for divorce being mine is the day after his.)  Amy (who works with me) started my day with a beautiful outfit, from……Cracker Barrel!  I kid you not!  This dress is precious!  Who knew Cracker Barrel had gone full out boutiquish!  I came home during lunch (Amy and I wanted some banana pudding) to a sweet bouquet of flowers by my daughter Mallory’s boyfriend (yes, he’s quite the suck-up and I am completely ok with that!)  That evening my husband prepared breakfast for dinner (because that’s our favorite!) and an evening sitting on my patio working on a project.  In the midst, my sweet friend Janet came to see me with a gift and we sat and got to catch up a little on life which led to crying, Kleenex and praying.  I mean, really, what more could a girl ask for?!

Thursday, I got to see the strength of love when a birth mom and birth father came to a court hearing and surrendered their rights (this was a special and unique case) and allow their little girl to be placed in the arms of a precious family.  When court was over the adopted couple’s oldest son asked “What did they decide?” (he was a little confused with the proceedings) and Amy told him “they decided yes!”  He was so happy!  He later confided in me just how nervous he was because he loved his new sister so much and just couldn’t think of losing her.  The greatest joy of this day for me was hearing the birth mother and birth father verbalize that they couldn’t go through with an abortion but they knew they weren’t in a position to bring another child into the home and how genuinely excited they were for this family and the baby.  The love and joy they showed for the adopted family overwhelmed me.  Choosing life is such a gift!

Friday celebrated our oldest son through adoption birthday.  Aiden is the sweetest young man.  He turned 12.  Time seems to slip by so quickly.  I have a hard time seeing him as a tween!  A tradition in our home is on your birthday you get a pancake breakfast made by dad and whatever you want for dinner.  Sometimes that means we pack up and go out to eat and other times that means I am in the kitchen cooking their favorite feast.  Aiden had his menu planned weeks in advance.  I think food is always on this boys mind.  Nevertheless, it was a total success!

But Friday also brought a celebration of my nephew Chase’s life.  A year ago on June 17th, Chase was in a horrible accident.  He was pinned between two tractors.  I remember getting the call as we were getting ready to go out to dinner to celebrate Aiden’s birthday.  I remember traveling 2 1/2 hours to the hospital where Chase was and meeting Kim and Danny there.  I remember very vividly being told they didn’t think he was going to make it and they couldn’t even believe he made it to the hospital alive.  As the doctor spoke to us and gave options, it was truly hard to take everything in.  We cried out to God and asked for a miracle.  Not just that He would save and sustain Chase’s life, but that His name would be magnified and that Chase’s life would be a living testimony to God’s grace.  The Lord saw fit to answer our prayers!  I am so thankful for a year later to be reminded of God’s sustaining grace and His power to deliver when we see no way!

Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day.  I have a daddy that made it a point to make me his own.  He adopted me and sealed my name with his.  I am so grateful!  He showed my brother and me what loving outside of yourself was all about.  I have a husband that loves his family sacrificially and has walked this journey of adoption with me in our marriage.  I know he had to be so thankful to spend his weekend and his special day with all his kids and grandbabies.

And finally yesterday we again celebrate someone’s special day.  Brandon turned 11!  Another little life we have been blessed with through adoption that brings a world of joy into our home and family.

In the event you are like “WOW” “they are busy!”  you are right!  We have so much to be thankful for.  God is so good to us.  That’s 9 celebrations in 14 days!

Life is so precious!  The people that God places into our lives our like valuable gems of great worth.  All this celebrating of life, be it adoption, birthdays, Father’s Day and miracles given by God makes me think of the blessings of everyday life.  I have witnessed great joy and celebrations through many birthdays, anniversaries, births, adoptions and miracles of life that God has given yet at the same time, I have observed heartache from those that walk through losing a loved one when it just doesn’t make sense.  I’ve seen families devastated by divorce.  I have seen time slip through my hands and opportunities missed to share just how special someone is or how important they are to God.  It is easy to go through the motions of life and take for granted what is placed right before you.  Let us be quick to remember the blessings of today and celebrate what God has truly blessed us with today, for we never know what tomorrow will bring.

This is the day the Lord has made
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” ~ Psalms 118:24

CHOOSING LIFE SAVED MORE THAN THE BABY’S……..

A Birth Mother’s Story

I’ll never forget the day I met her.  I received an urgent call into my office.  She had been at one of the local pregnancy resource centers and they had called me with a desperate plea to meet with her.  On the surface, her story wasn’t much different than what we see with women in unplanned pregnancies and crisis situations.  She was pregnant, alone, confused, troubled, depressed, hungry, lonely, had a lot of anxiety, and contemplating what she was going to do about her pregnancy.  She was a hot mess!  And I just wanted to love on her!  I was very happy to learn that she and I had an immediate connection……our love for a good latte’!   In my mind, much of life’s bonding can take place over a good cup of coffee and the distress of life can be handled over a dose of knee time before a loving caring Father.  My job was to simply listen to her, hear her and pray for her.  Why was she was considering abortion?  Why was life as she knew it in such a mess?  Hear her cry for how lonely she was!  Listen intently as to why she saw no light at the end of her tunnel! And……PRAY!  Pray without ceasing as she unleashed her filthy laundry basket of life!

How often do we miss what is really right before our eyes because we don’t listen, we don’t hear, we don’t pray with intention?!  I know I am very guilty of it!  Sometimes we get into the habit of just checking off our list and moving on to the next thing.  Even in ministry we can be anxious to complete our task and feel a sense of accomplishment without realizing we missed God in a big way.  I am so thankful that the Lord had my spirit quietened on this day.  I’m so thankful that on this day, this lady had my undivided attention and as I was listening and hearing and praying, God was at work!  On this day I celebrated as I sat and cried with this broken, lost, scared, and frightened lady as she came to the conclusion to choose life for her child!  She chose adoption!  You could see the relief that overcame within her as she now had a plan and someone to walk along with her!

What I didn’t fully understand up until that moment was she had a plan…..a dark secret……an end to her despair!  She wanted to give up on life, not just the baby’s, hers also!  But now she saw hope!  Now she had peace!  A hope and peace that only comes from God!

All of life’s answers didn’t come complete over that one (or two) cups(s) of coffee that day, but it was the beginning of a painfully beautiful journey that this birth mother would begin to conquer.  It was a day that a wonderful friendship ignited.  There were many valleys along the way that she struggled with, yet there were many celebrations and milestones of life!  I will never forget the day she had her sweet baby girl and placed her into the arms of her forever family and we all celebrated two lives that were saved that day.

This sweet friend of mine continued in her journey of hard times and many celebrations.  She has been able to pour into other women with similar struggles.  The Lord gave her to me as a special friend!  A friendship I deeply cherish.  I can’t think of her or see her without thanking the Lord for His grace in her life and allowing me on that special day to be available to LISTEN, HEAR AND PRAY!Saving One Life

A Fresh Start…….FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS, ADOPTION, AND ALL THINGS PRO-LIFE

Family is More Than Blood
Family is More Than Blood

So here we go!  We begin a new chapter!  (BTW…..this will be a little long) This launch has been one that I have agonized over!  Seriously, it’s pretty sickening how much anxiety I have had over the new website and now launching the new blog!  I want more than anything to bring glory to God in everything that I do, and I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, that is information for those that don’t know this about me.  About 15 months ago I sat on a journey that I feel I have definitely felt the laboring pains.  Our website was on such an old format and desperately needed updating.  Our blog went without any attention for more than a year because of constant technical difficulties, not to mention the 500+ spam emails I would get a day, who wants that?!.  I even started a personal blog with many articles that I had in progress because of things the Lord would lay upon my heart and would not complete, it just didn’t feel right separating myself from the ministry that I have been called to.  Let’s be real, my life and ministry are so tightly knitted together and for goodness sakes, I need as much simplicity in my overly busy life!

So what to expect…..the title says it all and here is a taste of what is to come!  So join me with your favorite cup of tea or coffee, because if you know me at all, you know I always have one or the other in my hand!  Just an FYI…..I am sipping on a wonderful aroma of coffee and Irish Cream creamer……I know you can just smell it!  Yummy!

FAITH: Nothing is more important to me than my faith.  It is what guides my life, my family, and my ministry.  In Hebrews 11, Paul gives us a picture of great men of God who displayed what it means to live out your faith in action.  Hebrews 11 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” But then calls out these patriarchs and starts each one off with “By faith”, how I want that to be the mark of my life!

In my ministry I think what faith an adoptive family has to come to ABBA Adoption and trust that this is where the Lord has lead them to grow their family through adoption.  I often can be heard saying to any family or group that adoption is “A walk of faith”.  An adoptive couple walks trusting in the Lord’s plan without having the tangible laid before them, with many unknowns they will have to embrace.

I also think of a birth mother.  The faith she has to have to be courageous and not only choose life for her baby, but make an adoption life plan where she is trusting in a family to provide all the things she can’t, for whatever reason at this time in her life.

FAMILY: What a gift from the Lord!  My family consist of myself, my husband Chris, seven children we have been blessed with along with a wonderful son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren.  Four of our children came into our life through adoption!  What an extra special gift they are!

In the world we live in, families are facing overwhelming battles.  For an adoptive couple, family plays a big role in being supportive of this journey.  Having a family that bathes that couple in prayer is vital, but it doesn’t stop there!  We will address at a later time the importance of that on-going support between husband and wife as well as extended family that is necessary in life and in adoption particularly.

For a birth mom family matters can be extremely complicated and broken.  Often times my staff and I become that source of support to her.  My heart often breaks over the breakdown of the family structure and how this is generational and how this affects the lives of these ladies.

FRIENDS: One thing that I am known for is my “get-togethers”.  I love being surrounded by my family and friends.  They are the life-blood of prayer and community for me.

Friendships play a huge support role for adoptive families and birth moms.  We need to make it a point to build healthy friendship communities around us.  Investing in each other’s life is such a blessing!

ADOPTION and PRO-LIFE: In my own personal life, I know what it means to be adopted.  I had a wonderful earthly father who adopted me and took me as his own!  It is a special gift!  It is something I am extremely grateful for, although I can say with absolute certainty, I probably have not always displayed my gratefulness, you know, because the teen years do happen!.

My greatest adoption happened when my heavenly father adopted me into His family when I put my faith and trust in Him.  Many of you may know my life and ministry scripture which ABBA Adoption was birth from,  Romans 8:15-17 states “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

As stated before, my husband Chris and I have been blessed with four children through adoption.  We know firsthand the gifts that have been given to us and yet we also know the ups and downs that can arise.

For a woman that is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an adoption life plan is an important consideration and can be a huge blessing in her life, an adoptive couple’s life, but most importantly the life of a child.  Let me be very clear where I stand, a woman, no matter her background, situation, or circumstances is a HERO!  Any woman that is faced with an unplanned pregnancy and has the courage to choose life for her unborn baby is highly rated in my books!  The pressures of the world makes it far too easy to end the life of that child, but when she can step outside of her own desires and put that child first and then place that baby into the arms of a family and trust them to give that baby love, security, safety and a chance at a better life than she is presently capable of, it calls for a celebration and a giving of thanks to the Lord every time, because it is truly a miracle right before our eyes………THE MIRACLE OF ADOPTION!

As I wrap this up, and you know…..my coffee cup is empty, I ask that you be in prayer for me.  Please let me know what you want to hear from me on.  We will cover all topics!  Pray that I will honor God with my words and by that He will be able to work in the lives we come into contact with on a daily basis.  Pray for my staff.  Pray that we are always intentional to share the love of Christ with all those we come into contact with.

If you want me to speak at your event, you can email me at:

kandi@abbaadoption.com