Adoption Update: continuing, fully swinging

When Loren and I first shared this pregnancy with our family members, we wrote little cards like this:

"Your grand baby is the size of a lentil. Pray to meet him or her come May or June 2016! Ps. We are still adopting."

They hooted and they hollered and they cried. Nearly no one double checked that we were continuing our adoption because we stated it right up front and made sure they knew it was of utmost importance to us and our little family. Until of course, this little baby survived a few more weeks of pregnancy. Then we had a couple people say, "Oh but your adoption is on hold, isn't it?" No. No it is not. We have presented 2 times (one being a set of twins!) since discovering this very loved gift growing inside. You can call us crazy. I decided on a new hashtag awhile ago: #WeCraveCrazy.

Hearing Loren answer incessantly with, "Adoption is not a second best or a back up. We already wanted to adopt. We are fully pursuing our baby through adoption," makes my heart swoon over the moon and back.

When we first began the adoption journey officially, early this year, we had agreed: if we are home study ready and become pregnant, we will keep going! No question. However we discovered our last fertility treatment was a "success" and that we were pregnant about a week later and thought we would delay officially beginning our adoption process for about 8 months. But then, as you probably know, my body let that baby go to heaven too soon. So a few months of heavy grieving later, we felt the push to begin the journey again. So we did. And the same conversation was held, "If we become pregnant again, we will continue this adoption process. Agreed? Agreed. Totally." Our hearts were called and there was no ignoring it.

I'm not going to spend much time on this specific happening right now, but when we discovered the belly bean in my womb in September, I fell over. Literally. I was in such shock I fell over and Loren thought I had seen a giant spider. We had JUST been home study approved. Already presented to 3 birth mamas. We were full swing, and my first fears were: "What if I lose this one too? What if no birth mom chooses us?" I asked Loren immediately, "You don't want to stop our adoption do you?" And he said, "No, absolutely not."

About 3 weeks later we were trying to figure out how to announce these three life altering things that we weren't even sure how to process: "Hi Internet world! We are moving & not returning to vocational ministry! We are pregnant! We are still adopting!"

We ended up with this photo which actually just confused 65% of everyone and their mom:

As life usually rolls, nothing went smoothly or even really kindly for about two months; in fact it was an actual mess of loss and grief and hot feelings that weren't pretty and still aren't. But we kept praying for the little peanut in my womb, and for the baby bean in our hearts as well as his/her mama, trying to find glimpses of hope in the darkened valley we had found ourself in. Thankful and believing that Jesus had placed in our hearts two little lives, reasons to keep finding Him and reason to give thanks, even when all else seemed cloudy and disdainful.

Now, our life is completely different. We are southeast of Portland, about 15 minutes from downtown and 27 minutes from our brother, his wife who is a best, and their two little girls who are our babies' cousins. Loren is starting work today with a company he worked with for 2.5 years in Corvallis (they have a Portland location) with the hope of returning to school to work towards his masters degree. We are still unpacking boxes and selling stuff and making our home, until January when I will be applying to work again with the retired community. We feel like we can finally breathe for the first time in maybe over a year, and are settled into a safe little home that is perfect for our growing family. Fresh air. Slow breathing. Hope. We have a yard, people! And a tree for a swing.

And we are still adopting. Still fundraising. Still loan applying. Still grant searching. Still praying for our birth family and precious and so wanted little one. Our hearts have not wavered 1% with pursuing our baby through adoption. In fact, my momma heart has only deepened and grown towards adoption and I cannot stop thinking about and praying for all the babies we may adopt on this adventure that is life and marriage. My goodness, I am antsy to meet our birth parents and love them and learn about them and begin our Adoption Baby Book. I am anxious to set our two cribs up and hang up nursery art and prepare our home all the more for those bundles of poopy preciousness.

We (I) have been TERRIBLE at updating on the puzzle. YOU GUYS. Because of YOU, yes you, we have over half of the puzzle funded! Once the puzzle is fully funded, we will have reached about 1/2 of our total estimated agency costs. Look at the back of this beauty:

The dark over the names is modge-podge. Can you find your name? Here are most of the recently added!

   I have fallen in love with the back of the puzzle, as it exclaims how loved this little baby is. Oh my heavens. It screams, "YOU ARE WANTED! WE ARE HELPING BRING YOU HOME!"

Loren was studying Greek in early August and approached me with a word that he would love to name our little girl, are we ever lucky to raise one. We are open to any gender, any race, but I cannot help but picture a little African American girl in our home. I cannot help but ask God with each situation we are presented with, "Is this our little _____?" (So not sharing the name, already have had names taken & used after sharing over the last few years). Even if our bio baby is a girl, the name we picked out is being saved for our baby via adoption. Whether this or the next. The Lord gave Loren that name before this little bio baby was created and our hearts wrapped the name around a promise of the heart.

So. Will you continue praying with us? Will you continue asking bold things, that the Lord would bring our birth mama & belly baby to us soon? That He would provide in AMAZING ways? We have applied to about 8 grants and so far received none. We have a friend who gives out of her every paycheck towards our adoption and wow: TEARS. So much love and generosity and just...wow.

We thank you for your prayers in a time where there is so much to be covering in prayer. We thank you for being on our team and supporting us, even while we walk through the valley of hurt and wounds. We thank you for being you.

Here is a link to sponsor a puzzle piece, if you are able! We are continuing this adoption full swing, praying to enter 2016 with so much positive, healthy growth, knowing that He is our King and Hope and family. Thank you, we praise Jesus for you.

So what do you say? Will you purchase a puzzle piece? One for each family member? This puzzle will be hanging in a double sided glass frame in our nursery, displaying all of your so important and necessary names!

home is where the heart is

How it works:

1)   Decide how many puzzle pieces you want to purchase to financially support our adoption fund!

1 puzzle piece = $25 

2)  VenMo nataliekbrenner@gmail.com and write in the memo "Baby Brenner"

- OR -

Click on the donate button below to give securely through PayPal

-OR-

Donate via check. Email us at nataliekbrenner@gmail.com and we will send your our address to mail in a check!

However many you decide on, stick the name(s) you want written on pieces in the memo.

3)  Watch the adoption puzzle come together on our blog and see your name be recognized.

This puzzle, when finished, will get us to $18,000 - about half of our adoption financial goal.

Follow along: >Instagram: @nataliekbrenner or #brenneradoptionjourney >Facebook: Natalie Brenner >THIS BLOG!