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.
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!
Thoughts on Hebrews 12:1-13 By Kara Ranck Every four years, the world watches as the best athletes in their field gather to compete in the summer Olympics. While large crowds fill the stands, even more people fill their living room couches to watch the world’s fastest runners clock times on the track. Our hearts pound with them, we hold our breath and sit on the edge of our seats as their arms swing and feet fly towards the finish line. As they race, they are running towards a goal—the podium, a medal, a new record, world recognition. With the current change of season—winter to spring—and the changing weather, it struck me that we don’t watch or compete in running races in the winter. That may seem obvious, but take a minute to picture the Olympians barreling down the track in cold weather gear—hats, parkas, ski pants, and snow boots. Maybe even carrying a sled. Now just think, how many of us are running the race of life burdened with the weight of selfishness, greed, idolatry, and a
By Tiffany Miller I wish I could say I remember the exact song that was playing, what I was wearing, or even the date. Sadly I don’t remember any of those details about the day I heard God speak. I couldn’t hear audible words in my ears, but there was no denying what God was saying to my heart on that Sunday while worship music played around me. “I have adopted you as my own, and you are to do likewise for your next child.” My husband and I were blessed early in our marriage with two beautiful sons. I loved my pregnancies and adored seeing them grow from tiny newborns into personality-filled toddlers. Our boys were ages 4 and 2 at the time, and we had been discussing “when” we’d like to have a third baby, but that was the extent of the conversation. So when I told my husband what God firmly pressed on my heart later that night, he was clearly surprised. None of our families or close friends had adopted before, and we were (wrongly!) under the impression that adopting a c
By Kara Ranck There are many words surrounding COVID-19 that trigger disagreement—or worse. We are all tuned to this crisis at different frequencies—even those who thought we were on the same channel. We communicate and all the other person hears is static. We walk away frustrated, sad, angry, confused. Will we ever be on the same wave length again? As I continue to process what is going on in our world, I realize there is one word that we all can agree on and one shared human experience perpetrated by COVID-19— loss . The one question that may bridge the gap between humans with different perspectives right now is, “What have you lost since COVID-19 hit?” And then we just listen. Here’s what you might hear: Lost jobs, businesses, income. Dreams. Moments and milestones. Minds. Lives. Friendship, fellowship, family. Faith. Trust. Hope. Health. Freedom. Safety. Routine. These losses might be involuntary or voluntary, perceived as big or small, but they are losses just the same an