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Ok…Picking up where we left off in Part One… We had just experienced our failed adoption, and made the decision to start seeing new situations. (slideshow at the end)

 

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We saw three new situations in November, but we just never felt that spark like we had with the failed situation. But then, on the morning of November 29th I received an email about a mom due in less than two weeks with a baby boy. When I opened the email I immediately began to cry; remember how I said we had already chosen a name for the baby that we lost a few weeks prior?? The expectant mom in this new situation had the VERY.SAME.NAME! I emailed the agency back right away and put our YES on the table contingent on just one thing, I had to go tell Ryan first! I wish I could have snapped a photo of the look on his face when I told him about expectant mom “K”. His only words, “well did you say yes yet?”

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The agency was to present profiles to mama K within a day or two so we anxiously awaited response. Much to our surprise we got an astonishing call from the agency that very same day. Mom K was being induced for medical reasons and would deliver within 24 hours! They were taking profiles to her immediately and would let us know ASAP if we were chosen. We were completely flabbergasted. We ran home in a state of hopeful optimism. We began to check flights, do laundry and other things to prepare but we kept mostly to ourselves about it and didn’t let ourselves begin to pack for the fear of being heartbroken again.

 

The news we had been praying for came early the next morning, she had chosen us! We booked a red eye for that night and ran frantically around the house; climbing in the attic to find any baby boy clothes we had, packing bags for all 5 (eeekkk FIVE OF US!), setting up babysitters, booking a rental car and a house to stay in for the trip. In the midst of the packing we learned baby had arrived, 7lbs 7oz and healthy (thank you Jesus!) And just like that…we were off!

 

The hours of overnight travel were some of the longest hours of my life. We landed in Florida early on the morning of Dec 2nd and headed straight from the airport to the hospital to finally meet Mama K and her boyfriend face to face. We got to the hospital as fast as we could but once we arrived I felt myself dragging my feet and finding almost any excuse to move a little slower. The thought of meeting this amazingly brave couple, and our SON, had me more nervous than I have ever felt in my life. What do I say? How will I keep it together? Will they be upset? Will they be nice? I had a myriad of questions racing through my brain and I was horrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. The ride up the slow-moving elevator seemed to take forever even though it was only one floor.  We checked in at reception and I could feel the knowing glances from the nurses; we took one last deep breath, knocked on her door and the moment was here.

 

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In the room she and I barely said hello before we wrapped each other in a hug while the guys shared introductions and a handshake. Baby was down in the nicu so we had a chance to get to know the parents without distraction. The conversation seemed to flow like we had known each other for years. The two of them individually and their relationship had an almost eerie similarity to Ryan and I. These two people had such a love for this little boy and it was clear that they had an understanding of how beautiful of a gift adoption is. They went out of their way to assure us that their hearts were in it 100%. They revealed to us that they had originally planned to cut ties and have a closed adoption but once they read our profile and now met us face to face they felt it was a match made directly by Gods hand and they felt at ease knowing that they could leave the line of communication open with us. We spent a bit more time talking with them about the pregnancy, their life, and their dreams for the future then we left her room to allow her to rest a bit and headed down to the nicu to meet our son.

 

We picked up the phone to get buzzed into the NICU; when they answer, you are supposed to tell them what baby you are there to see. That proved to be more difficult than expected, do we call him baby ‘N’ or baby Farrell, or no name baby, or the adoption baby? It made me sad for him. Once inside we went through the required 3-minute hand scrub before you visit a baby in the nicu. Down the hall and around the corner we walked into the large room where the babies were being taken care of. Immediately you are hit with all the sounds, smells, and sights of a NICU. Beeps, buzzes, alarms, bili lights, heart monitors, and the unforgettable sterile smell that comes along with this place. Ive seen/heard/smelled all of this dozens of times before photographing babies in the NICU but there is something completely different when its YOUR baby there.

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In the NICU there were 9 full bays with an additional 3 babies in mobile isolettes because they were so busy that day. There were 2 other sets of parents in the room at the time, which meant there were 10 babies that could potentially be our little man. The nurse walked us to a crowded corner of the room to meet him. They were performing an echocardiogram on him when we walked up, he seemed so tiny connected to all the monitors. With the echo going on we couldn’t pick him up or touch him initially but that didn’t matter. Our love for him was instant. In a matter of only 72 hours we went from completely heartbroken to holding our baby boy 3,000 miles from home! He didn’t grow in my stomach, but the moment we saw him there was no mistaking it, he was ours FOREVER!

 

The next day we met with the birth parents again and officially signed the paperwork insuring that Corbin was ours. We spoke for a few more minutes than shared one long last hug and said our goodbyes. Our sweet little boy was doing great! He would have to spend 5 days in the nicu for monitoring purposes so we made ourselves comfortable and prepared for my parents and our older kids to arrive! Before they arrived we began the interstate paperwork that must be completed and approved before we could travel home with Corbin.

 

Tuesday Dec 6th we were finally discharged from the hospital and the rest of the family arrived late that night. My parents had purchased round trip tickets for themselves and the kids, they would be going home Sunday because we were unsure how long it would take for the paperwork to clear for us to come home with the baby.

 

PINIMAGEHaving my parents there was such an amazing blessing. We spent the next few days just being tourists and getting used to being a family of 5. Saturday morning came and we got an email from the agency saying we were cleared!! We could go home to Oregon! We were completely shocked, it had only been 5 days since we started the interstate paperwork; The average time frame for clearance is 10-14 business days.

 

Sunday brought cancelled flights, and plane hopping around the country but we all made it home! We have been home a few weeks now and life is great! Of course there are adjustments to be made but that’s all part of adding a new baby to the mix right?!

 

This adoption process has been a truly God driven experience. We have had immense struggles with our ability to trust God and his timing. We have felt hopeful, fearful, joyful, and terrified all at the same time. We’ve always heard people say that God doesn’t make mistakes, that he is working hardest when you are at your lowest. But we have never seen it manifest in our own lives as much as we have in the last two months. We were completely heartbroken and begging God for any kind of sign, for him to show us his reasoning for taking away the daughter we thought we were supposed to have. All I can say is that when God answers…he answers in big ways. There has been an incredible amount of ‘coincidences’ with Corbin’s adoption that can only be described as Gods work.

It all began with the name, we had chosen the name “k” for the little girl we were supposed to adopt and Corbin’s birth mom has the SAME name.

Next comes his birthday, as many of you know Caden was born on Ryans grandpas birthday. Corbin was born on Dec 1st, MY grandfathers birthday.

All through life my favorite number has been the number 7. I was #7 throughout all my years of high school sports, We were married on the 7th of Aug. Then comes Corbin, born at 7lbs 7oz and his hospital ID number was 777.

The last one Ill share for now is a name game. Our NICU nurse’s name was Amie, same as my sister, our first lawyers name is Brian, same as my brother, and our second lawyers name is Michael, same as Ryan’s dad.

 

Those really were just a few examples. We keep saying that the stars aligned for us to have Corbin. It seemed like every day of the trip God showed up in another grand way as to say ‘See I told you so!’  We have both always believed in God, and truthfully would have said we had a very strong relationship with him. However; needless to say, after this trip we feel a much stronger faith in him. We know that he is always watching over us, that he has answered our prayers before we even know what to pray for that when we doubt him and it feels like he has forgotten us is when he is doing his biggest work!

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Adoption is big, Adoption is hard, Adoption is messy, Adoption is beautiful, Adoption is Gods work, Adoption is WORTH IT.

 

Annnddd without further adieu…the hospital slideshow; Ill have to post the family stuff later

 

 

If any of you have any questions, anything at all, please…. ASK. I would LOVE to talk to you about it, message me, text me, call me, come over for coffee and baby snuggles, I would be more than happy to help in any way I can!

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Hey everyone!!! As most of you know my husband Ryan and I have recently adopted a sweet little boy from Florida, Corbin Joseph. Our whole family is so happy and in love with the little guy! As we were thinking about adoption and working through the process I found myself online daily reading other families adoption stories, they were such a blessing to me and gave me so much hope. We kept our adoption journey a secret because of just how many unknowns are involved. But along the way I have been taking notes, and photos, and documenting everything…just hoping that one day I would be able to share our story with everyone!

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So…..Here I go! (Bare with me…its a little long, hence the ‘Part one’)

 

Our adoption story is much more then we planned; more difficult, more emotional, more faith strengthening, and more rewarding then we could have EVER imagined. It begins way back when Ryan and I were dating. I told Ryan that I had always been interested in the idea of adopting one day after having a few kids of my own; I thought for sure he would run for the hills and tell me I was crazy, but to my surprise he agreed! He said he had always thought about it as well! Fast forward a few years… we were married and had two beautiful kids of our own and the idea of adoption came ROARING back into our minds.

I started researching some options and trying to see if it would even be possible for us, then on our 5th wedding anniversary Aug 7, 2015 I discovered Christian Adoption Consultants and printed off as much info as I could! After a few more months of soul searching and fact finding we signed with CAC on my birthday, February 10, 2016 and we were introduced to our consultant Leah.

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I want to give everyone a bit of a backstory on Christian Adoption Consultants and the entire adoption process because one of the main questions we are asked is “How did it happen so fast?” With Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC) most families have a wait time of less than a year to be placed with their new baby! Far from the stories we are all familiar of hearing about it taking years and years to be placed with a baby. CAC has a fantastic program that lets you work with multiple agencies from across the country which speeds up the process greatly.PINIMAGE

The process of adopting a newborn domestically can be summed up like this; while you are working through the home study process you design a ‘family profile book’ which is essentially a storybook about you, your home, your family, and your beliefs (Ill post our whole book for you later!). When your home study is complete you begin applying to agencies and you can begin to see ‘situations’. When an expectant mom goes to an agency with the intention of placing her baby up for adoption they gather her information, medical history, her hopes for the family and she places baby with, and the amount of openness she would like for the adoption. Next they send out that information to their waiting potential adoptive families. As an adoptive family, you get to look through her information and decide whether you would like to send her your profile and ‘present’ yourselves to her. The expectant mom then can look through the profiles of the families that presented to her and choose who she wants to place her child with. You may hear a few “No”s before you find the right expectant mom for your family but that’s ok!

 

Now let’s go back to our story. After signing in February, we dove head first into the home study process.PINIMAGEWe spent every spare minute we had, taking classes, filling out over 100 pages of paperwork, getting fingerprints, medical clearance, and background checks. We cleaned and prepared our home for our first home study visit and did our best to prepare our hearts and our children for an adoption that we hoped would happen very quickly! This process was cumbersome but we just kept dreaming of our little one.

 

Our first home study visit was on March 31, 2016. It went so smoothly; our home study agent was so welcoming and she just fueled the fire within us and we were so excited to potentially be ‘home study ready’ within just a few short weeks. But then…a few short weeks turned into a few more, and a few more. We eventually learned that our agents husband had passed away and we would be transferred to another agent. We had a second home visit with the new agent in mid-July and we finally got the call that our home study was complete and we were ready to begin seeing expectant mother situations on August 8, 2016.

 

A home study usually takes about 6-8 weeks to complete. With the setbacks, ours ended up taking about 5 MONTHS. There was a large portion of that time where we weren’t hearing updates regularly and it was so heavy on my heart. I spent a multitude of days just asking God why he wasn’t allowing this to progress faster when I wanted it SO badly. I felt like everywhere I turned people were having new babies or announcing pregnancies and my heart just ached. I was ready for a baby right then and there (or so I thought) but it was totally out of my hands and I felt hopeless. I have realized now that the whole experience of feeling helpless and praying every day for something to happen has made me feel much more empathetic to those that are struggling with infertility. It’s such a difficult road to walk when you are longing for something so greatly and it’s just out of your reach.

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In the weeks following home study approval, we saw about a dozen situations but none seemed to be quite the right fit for our family. Then at the end of September (almost exactly a month after being approved) we learned of an expectant mom in Florida due with a little girl at the end of November and we decided to present. We put our big “Yes” on the table and waited to hear word from the agency. a few days later we heard that the mom loved our profile and wanted to talk with us. We set up a phone call with her and it went great! The following day October 18, 2016 we learned she had chosen us and we were officially matched! The first situation we presented to and we were chosen!!! I wish that I could portray to you the immeasurable joy we felt in that moment when we heard ‘You’ve been chosen!’ It was like all the hard work was finally paying off; we were going to be parents again!!

 

 

PINIMAGEWe began the preparations for our daughter to come home, we even picked a name for her! We had saved all the supplies and clothes from our first two children so we didn’t have much we needed to buy but man oh man you forget just how much there is to get ready for a baby, and to do it in only 6 WEEKS during your busiest time of the year, was CRAZY! We kept in contact with our expectant mom throughout the remainder of October and then on Nov 1st we got “The Call”. She had delivered the baby a month early, on Halloween! But it came with some gut-wrenching news as well, the mom had fallen back into bad habits over the last few weeks and she had stormed out of the hospital against medical advice; come to discover the baby was testing positive for multiple different substances. But we didn’t care, she was our daughter no matter what. We frantically left work, packed our bags, and booked the next flight out! We were running completely on joy, excitement, nerves, and adrenaline at this point.

 

PINIMAGEWhile loading the car to head to the airport the agency called again and our world came to a screeching halt. The father of the baby had shown up to the hospital out of the blue claiming he wanted to raise her himself. There are no words to explain just how crushing those words felt. It was almost like those scenes in the movies where the world is all moving around you but you are just stuck in place, unable to think, unable to move, unable to breathe. Ryan describes it best…it felt as though we lost our child in the delivery room. We begged and pleaded for anything to be done, but it was out of our hands.

 

 

The days that followed were some of the most painful of our lives. We struggled to understand Gods plan, we questioned what he was doing and WHY he was doing it. We questioned if we were meant to adopt after all or if we should just throw in the towel and cut our losses before we set ourselves up to get hurt again. We went back to work and our daily lives in a silent struggle, as we had decided to keep the adoption a secret from most people. We were angry, we were hurt, we were sad, but we reminded ourselves about the reasons we were here. we reminded ourselves of all the babies we had been reading about, and we reminded ourselves of the incredibly joy we felt at the thought of being able to give a child a life that they might not be able to if it weren’t for us. We knew that what was meant to be would be and that God already knew what our baby looked like and when he/she would enter our lives so we decided to push forward and open ourselves to seeing more situations….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Check out Part 2 here!

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Oh and P.S. Official video of the trip coming soon! Please let me know if you have any questions about adoption at all, I’d be glad to share our experience more in depth with you!

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Celebrating our Completed home study

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One of our agency applications ready to go in the mail with our home study and profile books.

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So excited to have the home study finished!

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Our amazing social worker Kim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read through Jason’s blog if you get a chance, he is amazing in the world of foster/adoption.

 

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This handsome little man’s parents are very dear to my husband and I, he has two big sisters who are smitten with him and hes a lucky little man to grow up in this family!!

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I have been photographing this family for a few years now and was SUPER excited when they told me they were expecting again…and were going to keep the gender a surprise!! Thats so awesome! About 6 months ago now they became a family with three BOYS!….and today Im reminiscing.
Here is the story of how Brayden made his debut!

 

 

Braydens Birth Story from Sarah Farrell on Vimeo.

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