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!
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 Clint Watkins My wife’s words stifled me. “ I’m pregnant .” The weight of Jillian’s news brought me to the floor with a deep reverence for what was before me: I was now a dad. It filled me with both duty and delight as I began to dream about the future with our baby. But three months later, these dreams were destroyed. The day we found out we were having a boy was the same day we learned he had a fatal condition, anencephaly. If he survived delivery, he would not live long enough to come home with us. Our first child’s birth and death would occur in the same room. We had just started falling in love with our son and he was already being ripped away. I didn’t know it was possible to feel such agony. My son’s death sentence suffocated my soul and plunged me into a darkness I thought I would never come out from. My misery was multiplied by the fact that I had been rendered useless as a husband and father. I could do nothing to save my son’s life or protect my wife
By Wendy Van Wingerden Unsplash “I surrender all … I surrender all.” Do I? Do I really surrender ALL? I wondered this as I stood singing a favorite hymn in church one Sunday. It was easy for me to consider the things in life that I could do without. My home, my possessions, my status, my talents, BUT…Oh! not my children or my husband. Those things, I could not, would not surrender. I could not imagine surviving without them. Fear of losing them strangled my inmost being, it consumed my deepest thoughts. If I surrendered them, He might take. My relationship with the Lord was growing deeper, yet something held me back. Something kept me from knowing Him fully. With each word of each song I sang, he beckoned me to him. “Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful, where the streams of abundance flow, blessed be your name.” God, you have bountifully provided for me, I know how to praise you in abundance. “Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering, though