You've found yourself in a hard place. You are looking for a way out, a purpose, hope through this experience. You are not alone. Others are in hard places too. Others have been in your shoes and have come out the other side. Here are their stories of how they found The Rock in their hard place.
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Adoption Story: The Kauffman Family
By Brianna Kauffman
Shelby Hostetler Photography
Adoption is an incredible picture of God’s love for us and a
reflection of his gospel. Looking back over our adoption journey, it’s humbling
to see the moments that felt so confusing or painful and how they led to something
so amazing in the end—our son Oliver. As we faced heartbreak and hopelessness
along the way, we believe God was working in our hearts and preparing us for
the story ahead.
We started the adoption process in the fall of 2017 by doing
research on the different approaches to adoption and connecting with multiple
agencies. We decided to go the route of an adoption consultant and would highly
recommend it if you or someone you know is considering adoption! If you have
any kind of knowledge about the adoption process, then you probably know that
SO much paperwork is involved! Like a ton. But we worked through each step with
our end goal in mind and completed each form and met the home study requirements.
Along with a lot of paperwork comes waiting and a
roller coaster ride of emotions. I was not really prepared for that part of the
journey, but God taught me so much throughout the process. It required daily
surrender to the Lord’s plans and not allowing fear or doubt to guide my heart.
Waiting is hard. Feeling totally out of control over a situation is even
harder. Hearing “no” from a potential birth mom is difficult, it’s hard not to
take it personally. It was in these places that deepened my faith and caused me
to trust because that was honestly my only option.
Six months into our adoption process we found out we were
pregnant. We had accepted the reality this may never happen for our family. Talk
about a flood of emotions—shock, excitement, fear, and some honest questions
like, “God, what in the world are you up
to?”“Why now?” and “Do we adopt AND have a biological child at
the same time?” Over the next month we settled into this new reality of
expectation and excitement. We went in for our second routine ultrasound on an
early Monday morning and left with the words of, “I’m so sorry we cannot find
the heartbeat.” We grieved deeply and felt so confused. Yet deep down had a
peace that the Lord was not done with our story yet.
The following month we received an unexpected phone call
from an attorney totally out of the blue. He told us of an expectant mom and
her baby boy due in November. In fact, the due date was the same week as my due
date for our baby we had recently lost. Without even knowing about this birth
mom or baby, we had already been chosen to be the adoptive parents. As we
looked over the information, everything about it seemed right. Kyle and I both
experienced this peace and confidence, and we just knew this was the child God
had chosen for our family from the beginning. We gave our “YES” and then began
another season of waiting.
On September 4 we received a call that A (our son’s birth
mom) was admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor at just 29 weeks of
pregnancy. The doctors worked hard at stopping the contractions and from states
away, we prayed hard. The cycle of frequent hospital admissions would continue
to repeat itself for the remainder of the pregnancy. Our bags were (mostly)
packed, and we were prepared to pick up and leave at any moment if baby made
his arrival early. By the grace of God, our son Oliver made it to full term—in
fact just a few days short of 40 weeks! We will never forget the moment we saw
him for the first time just minutes after he was born. Instant love, joy, and
overwhelming healing from years of grief.
We treasure Oliver’s birth mom and the act of love and
selflessness she displayed in allowing us to be his adoptive parents. Our
relationship with her has been so special to us and an answer to our prayers. There
are so many details in Oliver’s adoption—many of which are for him to tell
someday if he chooses—which point so clearly to the goodness of God and his sovereign
work. Adoption is full of unknowns and a place that is easy to allow fear to
become crippling. It is full of brokenness and grief, but also new life and
hope. It is complex and messy and can be difficult to navigate at times. If you are reading this and may be considering
adoption, I would say do not let the fear or unknowns hold you back. The Lord
will equip you, and I believe you will be blown away at the ways he displays
his faithfulness along the way. Adoption is a journey we are grateful to be
Our hope and prayer is that Oliver’s life and adoption story
would make much of God. That it would speak of his goodness in the midst of
brokenness and hopelessness, and that it would display his faithfulness in the
smallest details of the story. I wish you all could meet sweet Oliver. His
precious blue eyes, bright smile, and contagious giggles. He is a gift from the
Lord, fearfully and wonderfully made in his image!
Shelby Hostetler Photography
Bri has been married to her husband Kyle for 6.5 years and
lives in Lancaster. She loves being a mom to Oliver who is 7 months old. She works
part-time as an oncology nurse at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute.
Outside of her home and work roles, she enjoys spending time with friends and
family, traveling to new places, and being involved at Keystone Church where
her husband is on staff.
This site is a collection of real stories by real people about The Rock in their hard places.
It is curated and edited by Kara Ranck, who is a wife and mother of two children living in Pennsylvania. Kara herself has traveled some hard places in life and knows there is hope and power when we tell our personal stories about The Rock, which brings us through. Thank you for joining us here!
The crime November 3,
1991, was a beautiful fall day—cool, clear, and crisp. After church my brother,
Jeff, and I shoveled down dinner and rushed out the door to play football with
our youth group. Along the way to the game, we picked up some friends. Though
only 17, I thought I was the best driver in the nation as I steered our car on
to a local country road. We crested a
small hill and saw an Amish horse and buggy ahead of us (a common sight in Lancaster,
PA.). I thought to myself, “I’m going to blow by these guys!” I stomped on
the gas, accelerating to 70-75 mph, steering the car into the left lane to pass
the buggy. As we raced closer to the buggy, I will never, ever forget seeing
the nose of the horse turning towards me, and I instantly knew they were trying
to turn. I wasn’t even watching for their turn signal, nor did I see the small
country road they were attempting to turn into. Instinct took
over as I slammed my foot down on the brake pedal. The brakes locked and…
By Amanda Miller One of my husband’s characteristic
sayings is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” It’s meant to dissuade anxiety or
unrealistic worries, and it used to help a little. Until one day, the worst did
happen. Brian was ran over by a
tractor. Actually, he was run over by the
farming implement the tractor was pulling — a 20-thousand-pound no-till drill,
a heavy beast fitted with rows of sharp discs meant to plow through hard-packed
Kansas soil. The tractor kept going, until it
lodged itself in a grove of trees in the middle of the section, a quarter mile
from the dirt road. So by the time anyone started to be concerned at Brian’s
absence, it was already getting dark. I was at work, and normally I would
have tried to be in contact with Brian several times throughout the afternoon
and evening, but I was in the throes of prepping for and teaching a cooking
class and didn’t notice that there was no response to my single text. I had no
idea it had already been almost five hours by…
Alone I stumbled back to IMU to frantically pack up our things; alone I crumpled, sobbing, into a corner in the much-too-familiar ICU waiting room; alone I pleaded for updates while they still wouldn’t let me see Brian.
This was one of the only days I was alone. It feels a little cruel that this of all times was when no one was there with me, but (especially after the fact) I can see the grace in it. In all reality, I was only by myself for a couple hours — the hours of crisis when I had no idea what was happening with Brian or if it was all over. There was no one to distract me, comfort me, strengthen me—no one to lean on but my God. The other crises I always had people to bolster me, but this time I only had God...and he was enough.
Brian made it through the day, and over the next day or two showed small signs of progress — before he started tanking again. His lungs started shutting down, and in a horrible progression he went from room air to a bi-pap mask to the venti…