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Have you ever experienced a moment when it felt like a huge weight was lifted off your shoulders and you could breathe again?

That’s how it felt for me our Adoption Day.

Our son came into our home on February 9, 2018. We received full custody a little over a year after on February 13, 2019. But we had to wait 30 days to finalize. About two weeks before finalization, we found out the actual date would be March 22. It felt like the days dragged on! Traveling from Florida to Tennessee felt like 20 hours instead of 7! Finally the morning of the 22nd came, and we woke up ready to go. I remember walking up to the court house thinking, It’s here! I tried to soak up every detail! 

It was such a beautiful day; the sun was shining so bright with barely a cloud in the sky. The anticipation was very similar to how I felt on my wedding day waiting to marry Joel. As Samuel played up and down the hallway and then sat in anticipation waiting for the judge, I just kept praising God for all He did to bring us to this day. 

If you have never had a adoption finalization or been to one, they usually have several families all in the same room and you take turns. We were first. As we stood in front of the judge, we were sworn in. Samuel even decided to lay his hand on the Bible with us; it was precious! We answered several questions about who we were, etc. I was holding myself together, Joel was flustered a little when they asked us for our wedding date, but we weren’t expecting that question, so we all laughed a little.

New Name

Then, we got to the part where we had to state his birth name and then the name we had given him. I choked when I gave his name, Samuel David Rylan Warner, and couldn’t hold back the tears. The tears of joy and relief as this huge, long waited answer to prayer was in the very process of being answered.

You see, we specifically chose his name because of our story and his story. We chose when we first knew about him, before he was even born. We wept over it when his birth mom changed her mind; and we rejoiced with it as God have him back to us – Samuel David Rylan Warner. Samuel – “gift of God”

I don’t remember exactly what the judge said, but I remember hearing, “I agree and will sign the papers stating you have adopted Samuel.”

In less than 5 minutes, he was ours! We had Samuel in our home for over a year, but he had our hearts even before that moment. We had full custody for over a month, but in that moment it felt like the first day all over again! A weight was lifted, tears began to fall, and a huge smile was planted permanently on our faces. Finally, 17 years of prayer were answered. 

I Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him

Carrie and Joel live in Pensacola, FL. They are great friends of mine. We’ve known each other for over a decade and I have had the privilege to work in two different ministries together. I have leaned so much on these two during our adoption process and am so happy to see God bring their family together the way He has.

The post Adoption Day appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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These past few months have been a whirlwind, but it has been so exciting to expand the business and grow something that I feel so strongly about.

Our adoption process has brought about many beautiful blessings. But one of the things that I have appreciated so much while we wait for our adoption to happen is all the adoptive families that we have been privileged to meet through this. They have been a steady source of encouragement and support as the days continue to stretch on until we will be able to adopt.

Since we have opened our design service, we have been able to create many profiles, tailor-made to fit each couple’s unique personality and agency’s requirements. Every one has been different, but each one has been thrilling to work on.

The design service we are now providing is one of the least expensive but more extensive out there. We are currently able to offer the industry’s lowest pricing, and we are proud of that because we know how expensive adoption can be. Helping other adoptive parents has been a real passion of mine in this new venture.

Check out our services here.

Please share our site with anyone you know who is adopting. We love connecting with new families.

The post Design Services appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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The post Protected: Because of That Little Boy appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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Anything But Ordinary Life by Michelle Cox - 5M ago

God led us to adoption exactly a year ago. There has been many ups and downs to the process of waiting, but it is undeniable that God has led us every step of the way. We completed our home study in July, and we have been less-than-patiently waiting for a phone call ever since.

One thing that has kept me busy and helped me get through the waiting process is a journey I began in August. In the midst of our home study process, I began searching for profile services that would help us make a modern-looking profile book for perspective mothers. I knew I could make a book myself, but I wondered if there were any affordable alternatives to help relieve some of the time commitments creating a profile book would take. To my dismay, I only found a few, but quickly realized this was a very expensive way to go. We already had so much money invested into this process, and we couldn’t afford to go this route. So I created our adoption profile book.

After we completed our home study, I told my husband that I really wanted to offer my services for an affordable price to adoptive parents. It just wasn’t fair that there were relatively few good options out there. And that is when Anything But Ordinary Life was born. This entire website was created with adoption in mind. I have been blogging our journey through adoption, and have always desired to take it to this next step: an adoption profile service.

So here we are! For the past five months I have been working with adoptive parents on profile books. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these families as many join the ranks of adoptive parents all over the country. These world-changers have become some of my biggest sources of encouragement as we have navigated the adoption pathway simultaneously. It has been one of the greatest blessings of this journey so far.

During these few months, I have tweaked some of the process to make it as easy and affordable as possible. And now I am ready to fully launch our services. I will be working with adoptive parents to make their adoption profile books. These books are how birth mothers choose the family they want to entrust their precious babies to. I feel privileged to be a very small part of their adoption story.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested, check out our services by clicking this link.

The post Profile Services appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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by Grace Brown

Hello! What follows is truly my favorite love story, the one that made me a mother. Our family experienced the blessing of open adoption when God brought us our first child as a newborn. I will never forget the night of her birth, when we unexpectedly received a phone call from our adoption agency stating that a woman over 400 miles away from our home was not only in labor, but was simultaneously processing the surprising news that she was pregnant, having presenting to the hospital with undefined stomach pains. This selfless woman, after considering the profile booklet of my husband and me, told us she had chosen us to parent her child, a decision she said she made in the guidance of the Lord. She was single, had two older children who depended on her, and sensed a peace that our home would be the safest place for this baby to grow up surrounded by love and provided for in every way.

Feeling elated by this surreal revelation after wanting a child desperately for years, we hurriedly packed the few baby things we had (which consisted of a hand-me-down carseat and a couple of infant nightgowns and blankets) and drove for most of the following day to the city where she had been born only a few hours after that momentous telephone call. First, we met with her birth mother, whose calm strength and clear trust in us was both awesome and amazing. My heart rejoiced that the three of us all easily agreed on her name. Three days later (an excruciating wait due to hospital and legal policies surrounding the adoption), we gazed for the very first time upon our tiny, four-and-a-half-pound, dark-haired, wrinkly-skinned daughter sleeping in her hospital bassinet, and swooped her up in our arms forever. We couldn’t believe that somehow, through a miraculous transaction that only God could orchestrate, we were her parents.

That was over six years ago, and the power of that reality intermittently strikes me while I carry out the daily tasks of raising an artistic, intuitive, sometimes impulsive, long-lashed girl whose favorite color is blue, who wants one of every possible kind of pet, can’t get enough of the Paw Patrol puppy cartoon and characters, and is growing her first “adult tooth.”

Agreeing to open adoption meant that we valued our daughter’s whole life story, not just the part that involved us. We wanted her to understand the truth of where she came from, to learn about the uniqueness of her Hispanic cultural heritage, and most of all, to take to heart the real love her biological family had for her not just in theory, but by knowing them and spending time with them beginning in her childhood and potentially throughout her life. We hope this would lessen the loss that she would face as an adoptee after being displaced from the woman who bore her and from her biological siblings, by attempting to keep those connections alive rather than blotting them out in an effort to avoid potentially complicated relationship struggles or from having to “share” our child with anyone else.

What has this looked like in real life? We travel to her birthplace and reunite with members of her biological family whenever we can. This happened more often early on, as many of them were eager to hold and bond with her as a newborn. They gave her gifts, cooked us meals, and took lots of photographs, as any proud family would. Her birth mother and several relatives were present at her first birthday party, which was priceless. We have been invited into their homes over the years for various holidays, have met for outings at restaurants and parks, e-mailed and made phone calls and sent letters and pictures and exclamations of milestones met. I sometimes ask questions of her birth mother about things they may have in common, or for parenting insights, or family medical history. Our daughter has a picture of her birth mother in her room, and I verbalize to her often how blessed we are to have adopted her, how thankful we are that God, through the choices of her birth mother, placed her in our family. I tell her the story of how she came to us, and remind her of how much she is loved by both of her mothers.

It is not altogether a seamless experience, however. I have failed to reach out as often as I should sometimes; I have been unsure how to relate and how much to share. There have been disappointments in which plans have fallen through and the birth family was unable to get together with us, and I have at times faltered in my remembrance of why we keep trying. My husband gently reminds me: we are doing it for her, so she can someday put the pieces of her life together on her own accord, because all of the pieces remain within her reach.

Grace and her family attend our church, and we have the awesome privilege of serving their daughter in our children’s ministry. The are a sweet family that has helped answer some of our questions through our adoption process.

The post My Favorite Love Story appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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by Racheal Fuqua

We received a call on March 11, 2013 from the department of children’s services. We were asked to take a six-day-old baby boy. We said YES and our lives were changed forever.

Within an hour of the phone call, DCS was pulling into my driveway. We filled out a ton of paperwork, and then foster care became very real to us. There was so much initial excitement, and yet there was also pain that came with it. We were so excited to get the call, and yet so sad for this tiny baby that had already experienced trauma in his first six days of life. We didn’t know what the future had in store, but we were more than ready to fall in love with the baby that God had brought to us.

Marcus was so tiny, and I remember rocking him in my arms that first night. My heart was so overwhelmed with emotions. As the days passed, I found myself rocking Marcus a lot in what became his “prayer chair.” I made a commitment to always pray for him and his future while rocking him to sleep. We were blessed to adopt Marcus on my birthday in 2014. Talk about sweet blessings; we adopted our boy on my birthday. Isn’t God so good?

Being a mom of three busy boys and playing the role of a foster parent, I found myself wanting a baby girl. In fact, I began praying for a brown baby girl to be exact. I didn’t want our Marcus to ever question or wonder why he was a different color from all his family. So I hung a little dress in my closet, and each time I saw it, I would pray for the baby girl that God would bring us.

Fast forward a few years—God started tugging at my heart that he was going to bring us a sibling group. To be very transparent with you, I did not want to say yes to a sibling group. The idea was more than I could handle. I started praying and seeking God for His guidance. I asked God that if this was his plan for my family, He would need to put it on my husband’s heart also. After a few months of praying this prayer, God spoke to Brian’s heart, and as a family, we started praying for this sibling group that God would bring us. I can remember my eight-year-old asking me at bedtime, “When is God going to bring us our baby girl?”

In February of 2017 we were called to take a sibling group. We said YES! The baby we prayed for arrived to us when she was only two days old. We were doubly blessed to have her three-year-old sister as well. Together, they have brought so much joy to our family. And remember the little dress that I hung in my closet to remind me to pray? Well, our sweet baby girl wore it on her first Easter. Isn’t God so good?

We are almost at the two-year mark of having the girls. I am not allowed to share details of our case, but what I can share is this: the week before we got called to take the girls, God placed it on my heart that along our journey we would have battles to fight, but that God would fight them for us, if we put our trust in HIM. I remember wondering to myself, what battles are we going to have to fight? We have had our ups and downs and many details to overcome, but I am so thankful for a God that is faithful and a God that can and will fight our battles for us. He has done just that.

We love our girls, and we pray daily that God allows us to adopt them. We are a family that sticks out in public. We are different. But we want people to see Jesus through our story. Since we got our baby girl at two days old and Marcus at six days old, I sometimes forget that I didn’t birth them. My love for them is so real. Birthing children or adopting children—it’s all a part of God’s plan, and it’s the story He has written for our lives.

We said yes to God’s calling for our family.

We said yes to foster care.

We said yes to adoption.

We said yes to the idea that we might get our hearts broken in the process.

We said yes to trusting God with it all.

Adoption is a beautiful gift. It is a constant reminder of how good our God is! If you are reading this and considering adopting or fostering to adopt, please say YES and trust the Lord with the details. It’s a journey that will forever change your life. Boy am I glad we said YES!

Rachael is a very close friend of mine from Murfreesboro, TN. She is a super-mom of three boys and two girls. She is THE best mom to those kids, and a prayer warrior. She is one of the main reasons adoption became such a real desire for me. I remember in tears telling her the news we were adopting before I had spoken it to anyone else. God has used her in so many ways.

The post Because We Said Yes appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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Anything But Ordinary Life by Michelle Cox - 6M ago

God led us to adoption exactly a year ago. There has been many ups and downs to the process of waiting, but it is undeniable that God has led us every step of the way. We completed our home study in July, and we have been less-than-patiently waiting for a phone call ever since.

One thing that has kept me busy and helped me get through the waiting process is a journey I began in August. In the midst of our home study process, I began searching for profile services that would help us make a modern-looking profile book for perspective mothers. I knew I could make a book myself, but I wondered if there were any affordable alternatives to help relieve some of the time commitments creating a profile book would take. To my dismay, I only found a few, but quickly realized this was a very expensive way to go. We already had so much money invested into this process, and we couldn’t afford to go this route. So I created our adoption profile book.

After we completed our home study, I told my husband that I really wanted to offer my services for an affordable price to adoptive parents. It just wasn’t fair that there were relatively few good options out there. And that is when Anything But Ordinary Life was born. This entire website was created with adoption in mind. I have been blogging our journey through adoption, and have always desired to take it to this next step: an adoption profile service.

So here we are! For the past five months I have been working with adoptive parents on profile books. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these families as many join the ranks of adoptive parents all over the country. These world-changers have become some of my biggest sources of encouragement as we have navigated the adoption pathway simultaneously. It has been one of the greatest blessings of this journey so far.

During these few months, I have tweaked some of the process to make it as easy and affordable as possible. And now I am ready to fully launch our services. I will be working with adoptive parents to make their adoption profile books. These books are how birth mothers choose the family they want to entrust their precious babies to. I feel privileged to be a very small part of their adoption story.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested, check out our services by clicking this link.

The post Profile Services appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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by Racheal Fuqua

We received a call on March 11, 2013 from the department of children’s services. We were asked to take a six-day-old baby boy. We said YES and our lives were changed forever.

Within an hour of the phone call, DCS was pulling into my driveway. We filled out a ton of paperwork, and then foster care became very real to us. There was so much initial excitement, and yet there was also pain that came with it. We were so excited to get the call, and yet so sad for this tiny baby that had already experienced trauma in his first six days of life. We didn’t know what the future had in store, but we were more than ready to fall in love with the baby that God had brought to us.

Marcus was so tiny, and I remember rocking him in my arms that first night. My heart was so overwhelmed with emotions. As the days passed, I found myself rocking Marcus a lot in what became his “prayer chair.” I made a commitment to always pray for him and his future while rocking him to sleep. We were blessed to adopt Marcus on my birthday in 2014. Talk about sweet blessings; we adopted our boy on my birthday. Isn’t God so good?

Being a mom of three busy boys and playing the role of a foster parent, I found myself wanting a baby girl. In fact, I began praying for a brown baby girl to be exact. I didn’t want our Marcus to ever question or wonder why he was a different color from all his family. So I hung a little dress in my closet, and each time I saw it, I would pray for the baby girl that God would bring us.

Fast forward a few years—God started tugging at my heart that he was going to bring us a sibling group. To be very transparent with you, I did not want to say yes to a sibling group. The idea was more than I could handle. I started praying and seeking God for His guidance. I asked God that if this was his plan for my family, He would need to put it on my husband’s heart also. After a few months of praying this prayer, God spoke to Brian’s heart, and as a family, we started praying for this sibling group that God would bring us. I can remember my eight-year-old asking me at bedtime, “When is God going to bring us our baby girl?”

In February of 2017 we were called to take a sibling group. We said YES! The baby we prayed for arrived to us when she was only two days old. We were doubly blessed to have her three-year-old sister as well. Together, they have brought so much joy to our family. And remember the little dress that I hung in my closet to remind me to pray? Well, our sweet baby girl wore it on her first Easter. Isn’t God so good?

We are almost at the two-year mark of having the girls. I am not allowed to share details of our case, but what I can share is this: the week before we got called to take the girls, God placed it on my heart that along our journey we would have battles to fight, but that God would fight them for us, if we put our trust in HIM. I remember wondering to myself, what battles are we going to have to fight? We have had our ups and downs and many details to overcome, but I am so thankful for a God that is faithful and a God that can and will fight our battles for us. He has done just that.

We love our girls, and we pray daily that God allows us to adopt them. We are a family that sticks out in public. We are different. But we want people to see Jesus through our story. Since we got our baby girl at two days old and Marcus at six days old, I sometimes forget that I didn’t birth them. My love for them is so real. Birthing children or adopting children—it’s all a part of God’s plan, and it’s the story He has written for our lives.

We said yes to God’s calling for our family.

We said yes to foster care.

We said yes to adoption.

We said yes to the idea that we might get our hearts broken in the process.

We said yes to trusting God with it all.

Adoption is a beautiful gift. It is a constant reminder of how good our God is! If you are reading this and considering adopting or fostering to adopt, please say YES and trust the Lord with the details. It’s a journey that will forever change your life. Boy am I glad we said YES!

Rachael is a very close friend of mine from Murfreesboro, TN. She is a super-mom of three boys and two girls. She is THE best mom to those kids, and a prayer warrior. She is one of the main reasons adoption became such a real desire for me. I remember in tears telling her the news we were adopting before I had spoken it to anyone else. God has used her in so many ways.

The post All Because We Said YES! appeared first on Anything But Ordinary Life.

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The traditional Advent season includes a time of prayer and fasting. This time, again, is meant to prepare our hearts for the Second Coming of our Lord. There are various reasons the Bible talks about praying and fasting.

This  type of prayer and fasting is to come seriously before God with confession of our sins. Sometimes, in today’s society, we don’t take sin as seriously as we should. We have dulled our hearts to sin because it is so prevalent around us. This part of the Advent season is a way to show our Heavenly Father that we want to have holy hands before him.

Another type of prayer and fasting found in the Bible is for miraculous displays of God’s power. I would be remiss not to mention this kind of prayer when I think of this season. Seven years ago today, I received the news that a good friend of mine was in a horrific car accident with her husband. They had been married for less than a year. We prayed with friends; we prayed as a family; our college community prayed that God would allow each of them to live and recover. The doctors weren’t confident she would walk again. But seven years later, they are alive and well, and they are in the process of adopting their first baby. We received news a couple days ago of a heart transplant for a church member of ours. I read recently of a restored marriage of a popular Christian author, who renewed their vows last week. I could tell you of miracle after miracle that I’ve seen AT Christmas time. God is not limited to work miracles at Christmas, but He answers prayer in miraculous ways even during this season. I am telling you that we have a God who delights in the miraculous.

Prayer can change things. No matter what category you fall in, you can come before a Holy, Almighty God and bring your requests to Him.

If you’d like to read more about prayer that can change, subscribe to our mailing list. You will receive a free digital copy of a devotional series called Prayer That Changes Lives. Read more about it here.

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