Thursday, November 07, 2013

Hannah's Story {Not that Hannah... Another One}

I'm so excited to share this story with you today!  Last year I put on a conference called Choose Joy {which I will tell you more about in a post later this month} to help people trying to survive infertility and adoption.  While looking for speakers for my conference I came across a website called Dancing Upon Barren Land which was founded by Lesli Westfall. I knew I had to have Lesli at my conference, so I emailed her as a stranger but we VERY quickly became close friends.  She is amazing. 

Well there is a gal that is a good friend of Lesli's and sometimes writes for Dancing Upon Barren Land named Hannah Bunker.  I have seen her liking my IG posts, and noticed her name several times in connection with Lesli, but we had never connected directly.  Then last month I received an amazing email from her sharing her story with me and the news that she and her husband were about to announce to the world for Adoption Awareness Month. 

I got her email as I pulled into the parking lot for Penelope's speech therapy session.  I had intended to run to Target while she was there, but instead I sat and cried with HUGE chills, reading Hannah's story.  I immediately asked her if I could share in on here for one of my Adoption Awareness Month posts, and she graciously agreed. 

So here is Hannah's story, in her words:

I'm Hannah Bunker and I have a blog called Everything Sunny Always.

My husband and I have just announced to the world that we are in the adoption process. November 1st, for adoption awareness month, I wrote a big announcement post on my blog and launched our Bonfirefunds t-shirt campaign! I'm SOOOO excited to tell everyone what we've been keeping a secret but also nervous because every once in a while fear creeps in and I think, "Who in the world is going to want to help us? How are we ever going to sell 50 shirts? That's so much!" But I'm reminded of how God has come through for us so far and I do my best to surrender those fears into His hands.

Here's a little video we made to share our news:

Our story is pretty cool of how we've made it to this point. My husband and I have been trying for 3.5 years to get pregnant. I could preach a sermon on how God has brought me through the grief of infertility. I'm so in awe of his grace and his goodness even through that terrible storm that we're even still walking through. I'm serious, I get excited talking about God's goodness.

{Sidenote: I'm writing a book called Waiting for Grace telling our infertility story, but also to help people who are going through a hard waiting season. We're always waiting for the end goal and we see grace only as the gift at the end. But grace surrounds us in the middle of the waiting, if we can just open our eyes and hearts to receive it and find it even when things aren't going our way.}

Early last year the Lord really placed it on my heart to pursue adoption. My husband Aaron and I had always said that we planned on adopting some day but in our mind it was after we had our "bio" kids. Well, the Lord began to challenge me and I started laying OUR family plans aside for the direction I really felt the Lord was leading us toward pursuing adoption now. Aaron wasn't there yet but we continued to talk about it throughout all last year and I would pray, "Lord, change his heart or change mine."

Well, last October Aaron came up to me and said, "Let's do it. This is what we're suppose to do." After lots of heart talk and making sure he wasn't just doing it to make me happy, we realized it was a seriously awesome revelation that the Lord gave him and one day Aaron just woke up and his heart was beating with passion for adoption and orphans. Oh man, I'm starting to cry as I type that. Adopting became, not about us being parents, but about us loving a child because that's what we are called to do. It wasn't about what we were getting out of it (parenthood), it was about giving a child a family. It's incredible to think of where God has brought my heart with that... my heart leaps!

So before we rushed into anything we signed up for an adoption education class through an incredible ministry, Anchorpoint Pregnancy Center, in Houston (where we live). We wanted to be as prepared as possible, get as educated as possible, so as not to rush into anything. This 6 week class was SO wonderful. Oh man, it was such a great decision to do that. But after that, the question became do we foster to adopt or go the domestic newborn route. My heart ached for kids in the foster system. But I totally knew that had to be a calling FOR SURE. We went to several orientations but the direction just wasn't clear.

We brought it before the Lord and we had to be honest with ourselves as to what we could handle. Filling out the comfort level form has been a process because my heart just wants to love on every baby out there but we have to realize that we are equipped to handle some things and some things are better for other people to handle. It's being honest and vulnerable with ourselves and trying not to feel like a bad person. But self honesty with that is so important. And the honest part with foster care was I just knew my heart couldn't handle the risk of fostering to adopt even though I wanted to help a child. But from February until September Aaron and I prayed for direction as to which route we should go: the risk of fostering to adopt? Or the monumental cost of a private adoption?

Well, August and September my heart really started to be pulled toward the private route. I don't know how to describe what was happening except to say that I was brought into a place of peace with the decision to go that way. I started taking small steps in faith…cleaning out the baby's room, pinning nursery ideas on pinterest, reading adoption books. But I was keeping it all to myself. I didn't know this at the time, but Aaron was feeling and doing the same thing on his end! He started researching life insurance policies, moving money around, thinking of ways to raise money, and even naming one of our accounts Adoption Savings (he's money minded, can you tell? lol).

Then, one Thursday night in September somehow we just came together and shared our hearts. We were directly in line with each other, in agreement, and at total peace with choosing the private route. But the money scared us SO BAD! We just said, "Okay God. We can afford to fill out paperwork. That's pretty much it. We're really going to need your help." We had been brainstorming some fundraising ideas so we prayed over those. It was like jumping into the ocean during a storm. But we were at peace with it. You know?

Okay, so here's where it gets crazy. Last summer some friends of ours felt the Lord tell them "I want you to start saving for adoption." They had no idea why because they didn't know if adopting would even be in their future. But they were obedient and started saving. Flash forward a year and a half later. The next day after Aaron and I said "YES" to God to officially start the adoption process and prayed about finances, our friend was in her quiet time that morning and wrote in her prayer journal, "That money is not for your adoption. That money is for Hannah and Aaron's adoption." She told her husband what she felt and he said that he had been wanting to give us that money too. That night we went out to dinner with them and they handed us a check for…get ready…fourteen THOUSAND dollars! Holy crap. I'm just in awe of God whenever I tell that story! He told them to start saving before Aaron and I were ever even in agreement about adopting! He knows the solution to our problems before we ever even know the problem! Is that not insane?! And then His timing…the very. next. day. after Aaron and I said yes and took that leap in faith to trust God with the money, he orchestrates over half of what we need.

Blows. Me. Away. Our total we need is 27k. 25k for the agency and then about 2k for the finalization/attorney fees. We already have about 15k after that generous donation, so all we need is 12k. Which seems way more doable than $27,000! Haha! We are running the BonfireFunds campaign and have a garage sale planned for later, and I plan on doing mini photo sessions, plus some other ideas we are working on.

We immediately started searching for an agency and found one that we absolutely LOVE here in Houston. They're wonderful! We're finishing up the second round of paperwork and should have our home study scheduled for mid-November/early December!

So. I've written you a novel here. Sorry I didn't warn you to grab a cup of coffee before hand. :) So why am I writing you all of this? Well, first, I know that people adopting or who have adopted will appreciate a great God story because adoption is a total God thing. But I wanted to share just to tell you our story and to share how faithful God is. I wish I could just sit down and have a cup of coffee with whoever will listen and to just share the love of Jesus, that there is HOPE for whatever situation we're going through, and that even though is can totally SUCK at the time, His plan is so much greater than what we could ever imagine. He's so faithful to turn tears to joy, mourning to gladness. My life and my heart is a testimony to that. I'm preparing my heart for the hard things that could come out this adoption journey, but my story up until now has given me hope that whatever may happen with this, it isn't the end and that God has a plan for the pain AND the triumph.

If you would like to support Hannah and Aaron's adoption by purchasing one of their t-shirts, please click here to visit their BonfireFunds page.

1 comment:

  1. I love Hannah and Aarons story, it made me smile and cry and my heart sing for joy. God IS good indeed and it such a blessing to hear how He plays the part in peoples stories. My preyers are with you.