The Slate is Clean, Now What?

It has been a roller coaster of a year, but as I sit here with coffee in hand, watching birds eat from the feeder on our new deck, I'm ready to dust off the keys and let you in on a little something I've been learning over the past few months. Sometimes, an answered prayer isn't the end of the story, but rather the beginning. What you think may be the ending of a book is just the birth of the sequel. Sometimes the answer to prayer is going to be simultaneously more wonderful and more difficult than you ever thought. A fresh start is anything but a clean slate... but a reminder that we all carry baggage with us, that has to be occasionally purged, sorted and reorganized. But that's not a bad thing at all if we remember where it came from and why it comes with a great importance.

The beginning of this year, my family moved across the state. We went from a terribly stressful, hectic, out of balance life to one that brought the freedom to breathe easier, to play together, to start fresh. God answered our family prayers in a big way. He led us to an amazing opportunity to place priorities back in the right order; to give my husband a dream job that suits both his personality and his passion; to bring us back to my hometown, closer to family and the exciting opportunities a bigger city offers for raising a child. It was a dream come true... except for after years of making life and marriage work in spite of the stresses and unrelenting schedules, I now felt completely lost in the freedom and fresh start this answer to prayer brought.

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Over the summer we stayed incredibly busy exploring our new home, settling in and decorating the new house, traveling with my husband's job, meeting new friends and soaking up every minute the last few months brought before my baby girl started to big kid school in the fall. It was a challenging but wonderfully sweet time for us as me and my mini-me learned that extroverts could survive while rebuilding a a social world that had suddenly become very small. Fast forward to the fall and to school days, and our days are now filled with getting my big girl up and ready in time to catch the bus in the mornings and making sure I'm home in the afternoons to welcome her home with a big hug, a bowl of ice cream and listen to stories of how her day went. But in the time in-between the bus routes, I've come face to face with the task God had laid before me years ago.

I had become distracted with all that life was throwing at us. I was trying to just keep my head above water. I was tired, spent and just wanting to hide from anything that might add to my stress. I needed to take a break from writing for a while to get through all the transitions and find my voice again, and then it just became easier to not write that first post. I was selfish and I was scared. But God wouldn't - won't - let me step away from what He's called me to.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When we find ourselves in a distressed stage of life, it's hard to keep that bigger picture. It's hard to not make things all about us. But God is wanting us to trust Him to bring us comfort, so that we can do the same for others around us and point them to God's unfailing goodness. He has reminded me of this time and time again. He allowed us a season of infertility, loss and fear so that we could see His goodness, experience His comfort and see His bigger purpose. It's my honor and privilege to keep telling our story, to listen and invest in yours, to pray with you that you will experience the same comfort I did and see just how much God loves you as He rescues you from your pain.

In reading through the Old Testament this year, one thing has been made exceptionally clear, God doesn't show up in pillars of fire and burning bushes and divided seas very often. He sometimes uses the dramatic to make Himself and His direction known in a very clear way. Then He fully expects and asks us to faithfully follow Him in joyful obedience. He will keep us on the path He originally set out for us, confirming and encouraging us in His precious whispers until it is His plan to use us another way. So I was praying for a change in direction and God was answering me with making the passion that started this website stronger. I prayed for the easy way out and He answered with emails of prayer requests and relationships to remind me of the importance of just following Him faithfully. Encouraging you, praying with you, listening to you and walking through difficult seasons with you is truly a beautiful gift and an honor. The pain I once went through with infertility isn't baggage at all... it's an opportunity to serve Him passionately and to be rewarded with the gift of some amazingly wonderful friends along the way. I have seen God do so many amazing things through friends that came alongside me when I was hurting and continue to see that repeated time and time again when I have the privilege of helping you through your pain. God works miracles through relationships when we aren't scared or too tired or too timid to put ourselves out there to be used and to open up ourselves to let others see our vulnerabilities. When we are weak, He is strong. His Word never changes and He loves us too much to let us hurt alone if we will just be open to His plans for our life. 

God answered our prayers for a fresh start that has turned out to be the beginning to the sequel He started through this blog and ministry years ago. That is to walk alongside you, to encourage you, to listen to you and your story because, my friend, your story matters so much and sometimes we all need a reminder that we are not alone.

With much love and prayers,

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Picturing Infertility: A Man's Point of View

In this digital age pictures are everywhere.  We have those “old school” cameras (some even still use film), digital SLRs, small pocket cameras, cell phones, iPads…it seems every device has a camera.  These cameras are constantly capturing images of life and helping us share them through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever new social media channel may crop up next.  It’s a constant barrage of “look at life” in a manner only still images can provide.  Still images are great for catching that instant, that frozen moment but they do so without context.  No audio to help the viewer orient themselves, no sequence of images to show what happened right before or right after that perfect moment. In the absence of these, the viewer is left to define the context themselves, building a perception of reality. 

Take a look at the image above.  What a beautiful moment in time.  It’s an image of a beautiful barn housing the celebration of a joyous event in the lives of two young adults who just exchanged wedding vows as they begin a new life together.  Looking at this moment in time from this perspective you would naturally form the view of a reality that is quiet, serene, and perfect.  Now depending on your own unique life experiences this image will invoke an emotional response.  Maybe thoughts of “how beautiful”, “how blessed are those in the image”, “oh how I’d love to be at that party”, or “why can’t I have an experience like that?”  Without information to define the context we formulate our own, and based on our current reality this context is accompanied by a unique emotional response to the image and those in it. 

As the photographer of this image I had the privilege to be in that moment and can view the image in its actual context.  The image was captured about two hours after the area was inundated by torrential rainfall, and tormented by damaging straight-line winds that toppled trees, damaged houses and knocked out power to the area for hours (including this barn that was without power when the image was taken).  What you don’t see is a flooded dirt road leading to that barn that was becoming nearly impassable for the cars attempting to make it to this celebration.  You don’t know that Courtney and I contemplated turning back from attending based on the weather, the road and the fact that we felt sure our car would get stuck in the red clay soup that had formed. 

Now take a look at this image.  What do you see?  A happy father and mother with their beautiful little girl.  A beautiful picture simply capturing a moment in the happy life of an All-American family.  What emotional response comes as you see this instant in time?  Over the years my response to these type of pictures on Facebook, Twitter or wherever was something like “Lucky them”, or “I wonder if they realize how good they have it”, and even “why can’t I have that?”  Those were my responses based on my experience and where I was in the journey of life.  Again, looking at the context the picture doesn't provide I made up my own. 

What I didn't see from this picture was the two young engineers who met each other, got married, built a house and planned the perfect life together.  The 5-year plan that led to starting their family of 2.5 kids after they had their 5 years to enjoy life together.  What I didn't see is how that plan didn't pan out and 5 years turned into 8, with the additional 3 being filled with struggle, strain and a continual rise and fall of emotions for both the young man and his loving wife.  I didn't see the countless doctor visits filled with lukewarm news of hope and harsh realities.  I didn't see the tests, procedures and clinical “encounters” that were the foundation of moving that picture from a couple of 2 to a family of 3.  The image doesn't show the pain of hearing “with another partner each of you may be able to procreate but together it’s just not going to happen without some help.”  It’s impossible to see the failed attempts of prescription drugs and prescribed “procreation attempts,” followed by an unsuccessful IUI and ultimately 3 rounds of IVF.  The camera can’t capture the feeling of helplessness the man experienced the morning they went to see the first heartbeat and were told instead that they’d “lose their baby.”  Those pictures didn't show me the pain the man experienced watching his wife try to grasp for hope amid a miscarriage and a D&C procedure.  Two more rounds of drugs, 15,000 miles on the road to doctor’s offices in a single year, and something that is supposed to be a natural part of life becoming highly clinical.  An image can’t show you the 9 months of waiting for the other shoe to drop amid a parade of good news and blessings and how the joy of those times are tempered by that. 

Given the context what story does that picture tell now?  What is the theme of latest chapter stroked by God’s pen for this family?  It’s a couple that has grown closer through an experience that tears many apart.  It’s a family that is run by a little girl who is full of life and truly is the epitome of God’s gift of life.  A family that will forever be reminded of the struggle each time someone sees their moment in time and says “what a beautiful little girl, what a perfect family…when are you going to have more?”  But being reminded of that struggle is not a bad thing at all.  It’s a constant reminder of the gift of life, the sovereignty of our God and how we are executing His plan…not ours.  As a man who’s lived through infertility and not being able to naturally do the one thing that you should be able to naturally do, I see my experience as a blessing.  It makes me cherish my daughter even more, it keeps me humble as the patriarch of a beautiful family and reminds me every day to take the opportunity to tell my story in the interest of helping others who may be viewing those images and formulating the same false reality.  Through the burden a blessing has been born.  Sometimes God needs to lead with a storm to provide the peace and build character.  Moses’ story in Numbers 11 is a fantastic reminder that God is and will always be with us.      

I hope that during Men’s Health month sharing the context of these images and their actual reality will help others in their walk toward God’s plan for their lives. 

A Nuclear Engineer by education and the grace of God, Rob splits the atom for a living and educates others about the same as a hobby.  A perfectionist to the degree 0.2% short of a fault, Rob enjoys landscaping, building things with his hands and being a pretty decent husband and father.  75% lover and 25% fighter, he’s a good guy to know and a hard guy to forget.  As a humble but motivated introvert, he enjoyed writing his bio the least of all.  


It's not just women that long to hold a child and celebrate a day set aside to honor parenthood. Men most definitely long for those moments too. As we approach Father's Day, we look forward to celebrating the day with joy but not without the memories of all those years we were both in a season of longing and waiting. I am honored to bring to you a story I have been longing to share with you for some time... our story through infertility from my husband's point of view. It is our prayer that his words bring encouragement to those who are still waiting and true gratitude for the blessings in your life to those of you looking forward to this upcoming holiday. You are not alone. 

To the Childless Father on Father's Day

The scene is familiar. It has happened year after year. You sit there in the congregation or with other family members while all the fathers are recognized. Maybe they are asked to stand and everyone applauds. Yet you must remain seated. Again. You hang your head slightly yet try not to let it show. Or you scroll through social media and see all of your friends and family post pictures with their children on Father’s Day with the cute homemade gifts made just for them by little hands. But you have nothing to share of your own. Again. You think no one notices. But He sees you. God sees you. And He wants to whisper what a great miracle He has in store. You can’t see it or begin to comprehend it but it is coming. 

Even the childless mothers are starting to receive much more sensitivity on the subject. Maybe it’s because women talk more in general and are finally able to share their feelings on infertility without feeling as shameful. Yet there is nothing to be ashamed of. But you – the childless father – still go year after year without anyone realizing that Father’s Day is equally as painful for you as Mother’s Day is for the childless mother. The fact is that you hurt too. You ache to have children just as much. You may not show it in the same way, or at all, but you still long to be a father just as much as the woman does to be a mother.

You may be thinking, “well you are a woman and you really have no idea how I feel.”  That is true.  I am a woman and I admit it is very hard to know how my own husband feels much of the time because he reacts to things much differently than I do.  We were designed that way on purpose.  But I am a woman who was diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and the wife of a man who was diagnosed with infertility.  We traveled the painful path together.  We cried for one another on Mother’s Day and on Father’s Day.  We understood each other’s hurt, as well as how the other reacted to that hurt.

My husband doesn’t outwardly show his feelings like I do.  And I would venture to guess that can be said for 99.9% of you. What I think society tends to forget though, is that just because it can’t be “seen” doesn’t make it not so. And often it is those “unseen” things that are leaving the greatest wounds. Infertility is one of those especially for men because so often manhood is tied to the ability to conceive children.

On this Father’s Day, I want you to know that you are not alone. You may be fighting back tears and wanting to stay strong for your wife or significant other. But what she needs is for you to share that with her. Let her carry some of that grief. Keep the lines of communication open and lean on each other during these tough days. And please know that you are also not alone among men. There are thousands of others out there just like you. And likely someone you know and are close to.

Lastly, it may seem as though your day will never come when little feet come barreling into the bed with you screaming “Happy Father’s Day!!!” It felt that way for my husband too. It was several years after our diagnosis before he was blessed with those words from his child. But it did happen and he never lost hope that it would. Hope and faith is the only thing that will make any of this ever make sense. And one day, when you are looking into the eyes of your child, you will finally understand the purpose of all the pain and it will instantly be washed away by the miracle that took place.


It's not just women that long to hold a child and celebrate a day set aside to honor parenthood. Men most definitely long for those moments too. As we approach Father's Day, we look forward to celebrating the day with joy but not without the memories of all those years we were both in a season of longing and waiting. I am honored to bring to you a story I have been longing to share with you for some time... our story through infertility from my husband's point of view. It is our prayer that his words bring encouragement to those who are still waiting and true gratitude for the blessings in your life to those of you looking forward to this upcoming holiday. You are not alone. 

Polycistic What??? His Diagnosis Paved the Way

What was thought to be “just” a kidney stone was just a few minutes later a “diagnosis.” The doctor performed an ultrasound of my husband’s kidneys and instead of what he thought his whole life to be healthy kidneys actually turned out to be what appeared as a cluster of grapes all over them. He in fact had polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a hereditary condition that they thought had skipped him. His grandfather, aunt, and uncle had all been diagnosed and have now since passed away due to complications with the disease. I admit that I had no clue about the disease, what it was, what it led to, or what it meant for our future. But I knew by the concern in his eyes that it wasn’t what either of us wanted to hear.

So what does any good, supportive wife do? She Googles it of course. Can I just say that this is a TERRIBLE idea. Google doctors will have you dying in a matter of seconds. Never go there. Just don’t. Trust me. I was devastated. The way that they talked his kidneys were about to shut down any minute and he would need a transplant with any chance of survival. See what I mean? I was scared out of my mind.

But what is PKD? Very few people even know it exists and unless you have complications, there is a chance just as with polycystic ovaries, that you could have it. As it turns out it can be very common. It is a chronic condition and as of right now there is no cure. Here is the official definition from the PKD Foundation:

PKD is an inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop primarily within your kidneys. Cysts are noncancerous round sacs containing water-like fluid. The cysts vary in size and, as they accumulate more fluid, they can grow very large.


Although kidneys usually are the most severely affected organs, polycystic kidney disease can cause cysts to develop in your liver and elsewhere in your body. The disease causes a variety of serious complications.


A common complication of polycystic kidney disease is high blood pressure. Kidney failure is another common problem for people with polycystic kidney disease.


Polycystic kidney disease varies greatly in its severity, and some complications are preventable. Lifestyle changes and medical treatments may help reduce damage to your kidneys from complications, such as high blood pressure.
— PKD Foundation

We somehow managed to get into a study just in time with Emory University which happens to have some of the best nephrologists in the country. Who am I kidding? It didn’t “just happen.” God led us there. Although the study didn’t really make any major strides in my husband’s disease, it has given him access to one of the leading nephrologists in the nation where he is now a full time patient. 

We learned more and more, and felt confident that his kidney functions were perfectly fine and with medication it appeared as though he would have no major complications from the disease. Then, in early 2008 – in the middle of trying to conceive a child – there was a major complication and my husband was in and out of the hospital for a month. He had a cyst rupture inside one of his kidneys and he began to pass blood and was in excruciating pain for weeks. He lost a tremendous amount of weight and was extremely sick. The concern of what this meant began to rise.

The reality of the severity of the disease hit my husband hard. This was genetic and he began to question if continuing to try to conceive a child was what he wanted to do, knowing that he could in fact be passing along this life threatening disease to another generation. It was that week lying in a hospital bed together that the subject of adoption first entered our marriage. I always had a particular heart for orphan care, after having biological children. But this was different and this was the moment that God began to open our hearts in a real way.

Well after a few months and when life was back to normal, we were over the scare and decided we would continue to try our plan for conceiving a child. We would talk about this “other stuff” later. More and more months went by and more and more negative pregnancy tests were tossed in the garbage along with tear stained Kleenexes. It just wasn’t happening. After several other tests for us both, that is when we were given the dual infertility diagnosis. It turns out that what we didn’t know and the one thing that Google didn’t mention is that PKD could under the right circumstances cause complications in conceiving children.  

If you’ve read our Adoption Journey then you know what happens next. God brought back to life that heart for adoption and made it a reality. It was the best thing that ever happened to us. Was in painful getting there? Absolutely. But we would do it over again a million times to receive the precious miracle of a child that we did. 

As for my husband’s health, he has had no further complications. We honestly believe that was God’s way of paving the road to adoption for us. We often forget that he is even walking around with a “disease.” We are grateful for the health he has been given so far, the lack of further complications, and we are prayerful for the future. 

To learn more about PKD, visit www.pkdfoundation.org


It's not just women that long to hold a child and celebrate a day set aside to honor parenthood. Men most definitely long for those moments too. As we approach Father's Day, we look forward to celebrating the day with joy but not without the memories of all those years we were both in a season of longing and waiting. I am honored to bring to you a story I have been longing to share with you for some time... our story through infertility from my husband's point of view. It is our prayer that his words bring encouragement to those who are still waiting and true gratitude for the blessings in your life to those of you looking forward to this upcoming holiday. You are not alone. 

Luck Doesn't Involve Love

I cannot tell you how excited I am to bring you Melinda's story as we wrap up our More Than Luck series! She is an absolutely amazing woman and the way she and her husband have so unselfishly opened up not only their hearts, but also their home to welcome in their birth mother is beyond inspiring. What an amazing and genuine example of unconditional love they are showing, not only their oldest child, their birth mother, but also to all those around them. Melinda, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being such an inspiration to so many and for sharing your story with us. Our prayers are with your precious growing family and your sweet birth mother. 

Please join me in welcoming Melinda to ONSEL...

I don't believe in luck. I think things happen - good and bad - due to circumstance and to blessing. The story of how our family came to be is no exception.

Some have said we were "lucky." I usually say to them, "you don't know the entire story." We have had our fair share of failures, struggles, pain and catastrophe. But we have also had so many blessings along the way. Those blessings? They outweigh the pain every time.

If you have known me for a while, you probably know that Logan is the biological cousin of our third failed placement. If you haven't heard the story, here's a brief synopsis of how that happened and how this little nugget came to be in our arms.

We were to adopt a little boy two years before Logan was ever even thought about. We named him "Micah." His mother decided to parent him shortly before he was born. We are friends with the baby's father's grandmother and were visiting her house one day when they came over. I held Micah in my arms two weeks after his birth. It was probably one of the most beautiful and saddest days of my life.

We were still foster parents at the time. After five years of waiting for a placement through the system (and well over 300 inquiries on waiting children), we decided that this probably wasn't the best route for us. So, in 2011, we decided to pull out of foster care and look to some other way of adoption. Two weeks later, we received a phone call about a baby. It was Micah's uncle (and twin brother of his father). He said his girlfriend was pregnant after having a tubal ligation and they were as shocked as anyone. He asked if we would be interested in adopting this baby. Of course the answer was a resounding "YES!" from our side of the conversation.

So, if you are following along in this family tree... Logan's birth father is the twin brother of Micah's father. They are biological cousins of twins. And yes... it was after a tubal ligation. (Gasp!)

Personally, we don't believe Logan's birth mother became pregnant for us. We do believe, however, that the blessing came after the news of her pregnancy. She was looking for answers; she was praying about it. We were looking for a child; we were praying about it.

I've said time and time again that no prayer goes unanswered. It may not be the answer you were trying to hear. It may not be at the time you think you should receive it either. But nonetheless, they are always answered. The day we met Logan's birth mom it was clear that our blessing and our answered prayers were upon us.

When Logan was about six months old, we began putting out our information to reach as many people as possible so everyone would know we were adopting again. People called us crazy. Logan was so young. But because we knew how long this adoption process could take, we were starting quickly.

We had several "possibles" arise throughout the years. None of them were situations that we were eligible or felt comfortable with proceeding. Three and a half years went by before we received the phone call one night from my mother-in-law.

My friend is a preacher at Line Baptist and there is a girl who is a member of the congregation that is pregnant and is looking for a family. His wife thought of you and Melinda right away because she knew you were trying to adopt again.

There was a young woman looking for answers. God sent her our way. No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. We met LeAnne at a local restaurant and talked for three hours. We only talked about the baby for maybe ten minutes during that meeting. We were getting to know each other. She was still uncertain.

Now this sweet woman is living with us in our home as she is preparing for the birth of her daughter. I'm reminded each and every day of the power and love of our Heavenly Father. In our house, it's something that cannot go unnoticed.

I'm sure that the relationships between my kids and their birth moms will continue to grow and grow as will our relationship with each of them. God is so much bigger than what some consider being "luck." Luck doesn't involve love. And my friends... this? This has love written all over it.

Melinda resides in Demorest, Georgia and is wife to Corey and Mom to precious Logan. They are in the midst of the adoption process for their precious baby Ruby. She is an active member of the adoption community and is a huge advocate for open adoption.


We started this More Than Luck series to share a variety of stories from others who at one time might have viewed themselves as the "unlucky." Like Jenny and myself, they didn't have the seamless transition they once hoped for into parenthood. But hindsight has afforded them the opportunity to see that the luck they once thought they were missing, was really the hand of God intervening in their life so that the timing and method in which their family started would be perfect for them. Instead of luck, we found God's presence in our lives, providing for us, comforting us, changing us, preparing the way for something that would redefine our definition of blessings.

Love, Epilepsy & a Baby

I am so pleased to bring you the story of another friend I met through the online infertility community. Years of being put through more trials than many can imagine has given her a huge tender spot in her heart for those that struggle with the sinkholes that pop up in life. In the midst of her own infertility struggle, she created an online Facebook group, The Infertile Christian, devoted to building community and encouragement. She is a precious lady, devoted wife and now mother to their little miracle. Please join me in welcoming Miki to ONSEL.

Jason and I married twelve years ago. Like everyone else, we would sit around and dream about our future. We named our children (at least one adopted), moved to exotic locations, accepted high-paying positions with Fortune 500 companies…we built amazing lives while sipping coffee in the early morning light. I mean, no one really sits around dreaming of medical complications, job loss, and infertility. Those are just the potholes which pop up in the road of life.

Or sinkholes, in some cases.

About three years into our marriage, I received a call from my husband’s office. They were saying he had had a seizure and was being transported to the hospital. I won’t go into all the sordid details over the next five years, but to say we ended up forgoing all those life plans for testing, medication, and one surgery then another. Our life became pre-epilepsy and post-epilepsy.

At the end of all the surgeries, we were left drained. Our bank accounts, our marriage, our desire for life were all tapped out. We had nothing left to give anyone, especially each other. I won’t dwell on this other than to say it is possible to come back from nothing. We had a wonderful Christian counselor who worked with us to get us back to who we had been before.

So fast forward two more years to 2012. We decided to take a trip to Puerto Rico to celebrate our anniversary. The year before we had spent the day telling each other how we weren’t really in love anymore, so making it one more year and actually loving each other at the end called for a celebration. We finally felt as though we were back to “ourselves.” We were no longer patient and nurse. I was once again a wife, and he was once again a husband. His seizures had also dissipated to about twice a year (down from 30 a day). One morning, while sipping coffee and staring at the waves coming in, I made the decision.

“I think I’m ready to consider starting a family.”

My husband didn’t wipe the smile off his face for two weeks. He was so ready to be a father. He wanted nothing more than to have a squishy, little baby in his arms. My first question was whether or not we wanted to go ahead and start the adoption process, or try on our own first. God had put the desire to adopt in my heart many years before I was even married. Once married, Jason also agreed it was a wonderful way to build a family. We sat down with our finances and quickly realized adoption was not in the cards for the first child. It was cheaper to try the old fashioned way.

Now, having been through all the medical issues we have been through, I knew having a baby at 33 was not as easy as having intercourse. I went to my OBGYN to make sure nothing was wrong in that department. I lied and told her we had been trying for several months with no success, as friends had informed me they wouldn't do anything until after 6 months (at my age) of trying had gone by. Anyway, she agreed to test my ovulation over the next couple of months. After seeing that I may not be ovulating well, she prescribed Clomid. The first month didn't work, but imagine my surprise when the second month did! I knew three days after ovulating that I was pregnant. I was so sick. On the ninth day, the test showed positive. I went to the store to buy onesies to surprise my husband. We were over the moon. We planned out when and how to announce it to our families. About 5 weeks in, I started having bleeding. They kept telling me it was normal and to go to the hospital if it turned red. On April 1st, it did. The doctor confirmed the pregnancy was not viable. No April Fool’s Day here. “Sorry, these things happen,” was the explanation.

I’m going to fast forward at this point, once again. I will spare you the needles, testing, medications, insurance, doctors, more needles, ultrasounds, more needles, porn in the guy’s room, insemination, money talks, and tears. I want to talk more about my state of mind during this time.

It was Christmas, the hardest time of year (other than Mother’s Day) for someone desperately wanting to become a mother. I was crying all the time. Everything I heard and saw screamed, “You aren't a mother,” in my head. I started seeking answers. That’s when I picked up the book, “Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss”.

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. I read that God isn't punishing us. He is weaving a tapestry and it wasn't our thread's time, yet. It wasn't about the perfect baby for me. It was about us being the perfect parents for the baby he NEEDS us to raise. 

Elizabeth and Zachariah had waited for years. They had given up hope for a child. Then God spoke to her and told her it was her time. They would finally be parents. She would give birth to the child who would help pave the way for the Savior of the world. John the Baptist did just that. If Elizabeth had had children earlier, she might not have had John. Or she might have been a different person who instilled different values in her son. As it was, it was God’s perfect timing.

I clung to this. I knew without a doubt it was all God’s perfect timing. We found out on January 4, 2014 that we would not be able to have children without going through IVF. Our previous doctor had failed to disclose that my husband has 100% abnormal sperm. The new Reproductive Endocrinologist was certain she could get 6-10 good sperm in order to fertilize my eggs for IVF. I knew then we were moving for adoption. We aren't opposed to IVF for any reason in particular. We just always knew it wasn't our path.

In March we met with an adoption attorney. We immediately started getting ready for a private adoption situation. We got home-study ready, made reference cards, set up a Google phone number, and told every person we know or came in contact with about our intentions.

Many times we would read about situations or agencies and wonder if we shouldn't just find more money to end the wait. To end the emptiness. Each time it came back to this: We knew we were on the right path and felt God was telling us to wait.I can without a doubt in the world say God told me it wouldn't be long and to be patient. My thread was almost ready.

New Year’s Eve took on new meaning. I was at lunch with a friend when a number came up I didn't recognize. It was a guy saying he had been shown our adoption page. His girlfriend was pregnant, but not with his child. He knew the best thing was for an adoption and had finally convinced her of such. They had met with an agency, but they were closed over Christmas so the signed paperwork was still on his coffee table. She was due in two weeks and needed to make a decision.

I quickly got my attorney on the phone. She called him from the closet of the house where she was attending a New Year’s oyster roast. She set up for us all to meet that weekend, six hours from where we live.

The next two weeks were a blur. I spent some time with the lovely birthmother while we prepared for the baby’s arrival. I was so hopeful, but I had heard all the horror stories. I knew there was some drug history and was concerned about what I might be signing up for.

On January 14, 2015 our son, Charlie, was born. I didn't care what might be wrong with him. I knew for a fact he was my son. I didn't worry about signing or revocation. God had been faithful. We had asked and He had answered. We had waiting and He had carried us through.

In one month, Charlie will become officially a Skelton. Right now, he is sleeping in his crib next to me. It still amazes me that God chose me to be his mom. I have a son. This is more than luck. This is faith, love, and trust. God has a reason He chose us for Charlie. I can’t wait to find out what wonderful things He has in store.

Miki Skelton (35) lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, two dogs and two month old son, Charlie, who is their blessing and light of their lives. She is a Community Association Manager and volunteers with the Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project.


We started this More Than Luck series to share a variety of stories from others who at one time might have viewed themselves as the "unlucky." Like Jenny and myself, they didn't have the seamless transition they once hoped for into parenthood. But hindsight has afforded them the opportunity to see that the luck they once thought they were missing, was really the hand of God intervening in their life so that the timing and method in which their family started would be perfect for them. Instead of luck, we found God's presence in our lives, providing for us, comforting us, changing us, preparing the way for something that would redefine our definition of blessings.

Determined for Obedience

When Crishana eagerly agreed to share her story with us, I was so thrilled. She is a beautiful woman, whom Jenny and I have had the pleasure of getting to know and become friends with, through this wonderful gift of social media. She has a heart for God, for children, and for adoption like few I've ever seen before. Bringing her family to life came with some intense periods of pain and a call to put obedience over selfish desires and convenient timelines. But, I know you will be moved as you read how the way in which her family has been formed has stirred in her a hunger to unlock the heart of God. Please join me in welcoming Crishana to ONSEL.

Standing to honor God, I a virgin, and Antonio a born-again virgin for six years; we knew that something special would come from our union.  After three years of marriage, we had our first baby. It came after a year of tugs and pulls on my spirit. I could not deny God's prompting to conceive. And just 18 months later, I was shaken at the voice of the Holy Spirit when he asked me to have another baby. 

My first pregnancy was an awful experience and I've come to praise God in it. It messed me up in every way possible. I was extremely sick and couldn't keep food down for the entire 9 months. Yet I gained 60 pounds, was swollen from head to toe and suffered extreme pain that left me bed ridden and depressed. Part of which came from the tests and reports that indicated that I may miscarry, and even if I didn't, my son may have Down Syndrome. An induction equated to 20 odd hours of labor and three hours of pushing, to deliver an eight plus pound baby from my 5'1" frame. I gnashed my teeth at the thought of a repeat. But, my heart for God superseded my fear.

Baby #2 came, in 2011, after a pregnancy with episodes similar to the first and an intense and painful natural birth. I was in and out of the emergency room for dehydration because I couldn't keep food down. I was seeing a specialist every couple of weeks and they expected me to miscarry between each appointment. Later in the pregnancy, my fluids were all over the place and they told me to prepare for preterm labor.

Both of our boys were born full-term and completely healthy. I won't tell you that I navigated these reports and pains perfectly. I will tell you that I only confessed what I wanted - healthy, happy babies. 

It was only three months after our second was born that I felt the echoing in spirit that adoption would be part of our family's plan. I had it in my heart to adopt since I was five. And I have literally talked about it ever since then. The reality of it seemed distant with two young children in our home. But God's plans were different than mine. After almost two years of hearing adoption in my heart, we felt like it was time to make a move.

When we started the adoption process in 2013, I naively thought it would be easy... a series of steps and checkpoints. I thought it would be much smoother and less intense than my belly babies. I was wrong in the worst way.

God uses the adoption process to grow and stretch us. Adoption is redemption. The redemptive process was trying for Jesus and it is trying for us too. We are tasked with coming face to face with the enemy and his vicious tactics to steal life. Without the waiting season, we would have never been prepared to stand in the battle. As adoption couples, we complain about the wait. We complain about the finances. But we were bought with a price and Jesus waited 33 years to fulfill His ministry and give His life so that we could live righteous. We too have to make sacrifices to have and redeem children.

During those times of testing, I had not choice; I had to see the face of God in order to have his hand move on my behalf. As believers, our wilderness is our playground for promotion. We run, jump and build muscle for battle. And most importantly, we make it our promised land because God honors our determination for obedience.

No, it's not always fun. No, it will not be easy. But obedience is always worth it and it is the only way to live. If I can do it, a girl married to her plans so carefully written in her planner, than you too can surrender your fears and unlock the heart of God in your life. 


We started this More Than Luck series to share a variety of stories from others who at one time might have viewed themselves as the "unlucky." Like Jenny and myself, they didn't have the seamless transition they once hoped for into parenthood. But hindsight has afforded them the opportunity to see that the luck they once thought they were missing, was really the hand of God intervening in their life so that the timing and method in which their family started would be perfect for them. Instead of luck, we found God's presence in our lives, providing for us, comforting us, changing us, preparing the way for something that would redefine our definition of blessings.

Molded by God's Intervention {A Husband's Perspective}

Y'all, this story just makes my heart swell. I am just thrilled to bring you the story of not only a really wonderful friend, but also a story of building a family from a husband's perspective. Jay and I have been friends since early in our college days in engineering school and it has been so touching to see the unique way in which his precious family has been molded. I love that he not only doesn't think of their family as "unlucky," but calls anyone that has to take a bit more creative route to start their family the "fortunate families." You'll have to read to see why... 

In 2009, we were living in Charlotte, NC. We had discussed having children and found out that it probably would not be happening for us. At least that is what a doctor told us.

Shortly thereafter, we were transferred to El Paso, Texas. We were not excited to say the least. At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much opportunity for life in that part of the country. This turned out to be ironic really. Our intent in going was to simply survive until we could leave. God had a different plan. 

Within a month, Katie had to set up her normal OBGYN appointment. As all ladies know, a conversation with this doctor will go from physical well being to desires of the heart in a matter of seconds. Dr. Chris Powers quickly sent us to Southwest Center for Reproductive Health and Dr. Luis Noble, who incidentally happens to be the #9 infertility doctor in the world. While we were there, he was also audited for having such high success numbers. He passed, easily. 

Throughout the next several months, we put our trust first in God and second in Dr. Noble and his excellent staff. We were extremely uneducated in the process of In-Vitro Fertilization. Through prayer as a family and prayer at Dr. Noble’s office, Gracyn was born on October 28, 2010. She is now 4 years old and truly is an absolute miracle each and every day. 

Currently, we are again in the process of growing our family. This particular time, we are taking the avenue of adoption. We truly believe that this time, we were called by God to do this. Adoption runs in our family. My sister and I are both adopted, so it could be said that God has been creating our family in very special ways for over 36 years. 

As it would appear, our family was molded by God in multiple ways. That isn't to say that the ‘normal’ way also wasn't created by God. Those families are also blessed. There are a lot of hardships with in-vitro fertilization and adoption. Hardships that from the surface could appear to deter a relationship with God. Fortunately, I have not found one family that has gone through either of these options and run away from the power of God. They are drawn closer in ways that are unimaginable unless you are one of the fortunate families. So, is it luck creating families? No way. It is inevitably, God’s intervention.

Jay currently resides in his home town of Madison, Mississippi and is currently a Project Manager for a small general contractor close to town. He enjoys hunting and especially fishing, especially when he gets to do both activities with his wife and daughter. Often these activities conflict with his first love, Alabama Football, but that's usually a good problem to have.


We started this More Than Luck series to share a variety of stories from others who at one time might have viewed themselves as the "unlucky." Like Jenny and myself, they didn't have the seamless transition they once hoped for into parenthood. But hindsight has afforded them the opportunity to see that the luck they once thought they were missing, was really the hand of God intervening in their life so that the timing and method in which their family started would be perfect for them. Instead of luck, we found God's presence in our lives, providing for us, comforting us, changing us, preparing the way for something that would redefine our definition of blessings.

God's Time, Not Mine

I am honored and excited to bring you the story of some very dear friends. John and Tiffany are an absolutely wonderful couple and, now, incredible parents to their littles. Tiffany and I struggled with our journeys of infertility at the same time and then later I was blessed to be able to pray and hope with them through their second round of facing infertility. God has most certainly blessed them, not just with their adorable little boys, but with layers upon layers of a genuine faith that developed while they waited on God's perfect timing. It is my privilege to welcome my dear friend Tiffany to ONSEL today. I pray you are blessed and find hope in your wait as you read her story.

Our story began like so many others; we decided we were ready for a baby. We never expected all that would follow.

I went to my gynecologist and told her we had decided it was time to start a family. She said to stop taking my birth control and give things a couple of months to regulate. Well, after six months of trying I went back to the doctor. She assured me I had nothing to be concerned about, but I was concerned. I knew that my mother had a history of endometriosis and struggled to have children. Because of this family history and my concerns, we began some testing. My husband had to go and do all the "man tests," and we found out all was normal. That was great news! However, when I found out that it was my fault that we couldn't get pregnant, I was devastated. I remember crying and telling my husband that he would never know how I felt. I'm a woman. I'm supposed to be able to have children. That's what God created us to do. At least that was my mindset at the time, and I had been praying for God to let me get pregnant.

After finding out that I didn't ovulate I began taking Clomid. That's a whole other demon in itself! I often say now that it is the best and worst drug all at the same time. We did several rounds and still weren't getting pregnant. I was so upset and didn't understand how this could happen. I had always believed that God grants the desires of our hearts. Having a baby was my greatest desire and He wasn't helping me!

This was the moment that God changed my prayer. I stopped praying for God to send us a child.

Instead, I told God how badly I wanted a baby, and asked Him to send us a child when He felt the time was right. That is the hardest prayer I've ever prayed. I'm a control freak with OCD. It's not easy for me to relinquish control, but I kept praying. For over six more months I prayed.

Almost a year and a half after our journey began, I took my last pregnancy test knowing what the result would be. My doctor had said we were going to have to start looking at different medications, but for the first time I wasn't worried. I just kept praying for God to use His perfect timing and send us a child at that point. To my great surprise, it was time!! I was pregnant!!! My husband and I were completely shocked. We called the doctor and made an appointment for that afternoon. I will never forget my doctor and her nurse running out into the lobby screaming, smiling and hugging us as we all celebrated!

The journey had finally ended in God's perfect time. On April 26, 2012 at 10:47am we welcomed a happy, healthy, beautiful baby boy! We have thanked God for him every day since.

Little did I know, that I would travel further down the same path when we began to try for our second child. This time we knew the issue. We met it head on and didn't waste any time. However, on this go around after almost the same amount of time as before, my doctor said we were done with medication. We would have to take a break for several months and then try artificial insemination. Once again I was heart broken, but not as worried.

This time I had prayed all along for God to send us another child only if He felt it was right. As I took the last pregnancy test we had, I wasn't worried. I knew I wouldn't be crushed if it was negative because I knew God's timing and His plan was bigger than mine. I was completely shocked to see a faint positive! I went to the doctor the next day and they confirmed the pregnancy. However, my progesterone levels were so low that she really didn't know how I was pregnant. I had to immediately began medication to help raise my levels. My family and close friends all began praying. We prayed for God to let me keep this baby, and for the pregnancy to be just as smooth as the first. It was a scary time, but once again I knew that if God had chosen the time for me to become pregnant, He would bless this baby just as He did before.

On December 3, 2014 at 11:57 am we welcomed our second son! God's hand was present in the delivery and in the days that followed.

Through all of this I have learned to trust God's timing. When we feel that He is not hearing us or not working in our time frame, that's when He uses our circumstances to remind us of His sovereignty. He is in control, not us. Only He knows the plan He has laid before us and the time in which it will all unfold. We just have to let go and believe that His timing is perfect, and that all will be revealed at just the right moment!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
— Matthew 25:33

Tiffany is a 33 year old stay at home Mommy to her two precious boys. She coaches varsity girls basketball with her dad and loves going to Alabama football games. In her free time she is enjoys making things for her home and family. And she loves party planning! 


We started this More Than Luck series to share a variety of stories from others who at one time might have viewed themselves as the "unlucky." Like Jenny and myself, they didn't have the seamless transition they once hoped for into parenthood. But hindsight has afforded them the opportunity to see that the luck they once thought they were missing, was really the hand of God intervening in their life so that the timing and method in which their family started would be perfect for them. Instead of luck, we found God's presence in our lives, providing for us, comforting us, changing us, preparing the way for something that would redefine our definition of blessings.