Friday, September 27, 2013

An Adoption Story | The Helm Family

We are so excited to share with you guys a little project we have been working on. As fun as A Beard For A Baby is, our hope is that it would be so much more about God's faithfulness, provision, and redemption than it is about silly beards. Yes, we have guys growing beards and yes it has been such a joy. But the heart of ABFAB is about adoption. And so, we have contacted several families and asked them to share their personal stories of how the Lord has used adoption to bless their families. 

Today it is our joy to share The Helm family's story with you! The Helms are friends of ours from church. DJ and Brian first met while working on some things in the Missions department together and have had an ongoing relationship ever since. They have adopted two of their children and their story has been such an encouragement to us. We pray the Lord uses their story mightily and hope it encourages you as much as it did us!

We are Brian and Shelby Helm and we are excited to share our story! We have been married 10 years and have 3 beautiful children: Lily (age 5), Jaxon (age 4), and Jordyn (2 months). Our first two children were adopted and I would love to share the beautiful story of adoption God wrote for our family!

We hadn't been married long before we started trying to get pregnant. Everyone in my family always got pregnant really fast and I assumed it would be the same for me. I was shocked and dismayed when it did not. Month after month went by and I started getting depressed. We went to the doctor right away and she started running tests and prescribing medications. The tests got more expensive and more painful and the medications made me even more depressed. Finally we tried IUI and after it failed God changed our hearts. Brian and I had always wanted to adopt, but we thought it would be our 3rd or 4th child. Literally, in one second, He changed our hearts toward pursuing adoption. This was in March 2008.

Our good friends had just gone through the adoption process with a small, but amazing agency in Wichita Falls, TX. We watched as they got a call out of the blue about a baby to adopt and then the birth mom changed her mind. This happened a couple more times until their beautiful Avery Grace was in their arms. The emotions that Brian and I had while watching and experiencing this with them were wonderful! We actually felt like it was happening to us too! We decided to go to an informational meeting at the agency and while there decided to sign a contract and get on the "waiting" list. A week later we were matched with a beautiful birth mom due a couple months later. Crazy right!? We started going to her sonogram appointments and fell in love with her and the baby boy inside her belly. We created a room in our home just for him and had decided on a name.

(Side Note: I was pumping and preparing my body to breastfeed our adopted child. I was working around the clock, even getting up at 3:00AM to pump to induce my milk! More on this in a bit...but if you'd like to read more about this, I wrote a separate blog entry on it here.)

Finally the day came and we were in the delivery room when he made his appearance! Brian even cut the umbilical cord!! A few moments later we could tell something wasn't right. He wasn't crying and the nurses rushed him out of the room. We were all panicked, but the doctor assured us he would be okay. He seemed to be doing a little better so Brian and I visited him in the NICU. He was needing oxygen so we couldn't hold him and I couldn't nurse him. We weren't aware that the birth mom was having second thoughts. Soon after this he was rushed to Cook's in Fort Worth because he had been having seizures and he had brain damage because he didn't take his first breath for 6 minutes. We were informed he might be in a vegetative state his whole life. After hearing all of this the birth mom just couldn't take it and decided to parent. We were crushed, shocked, and confused. We knew God had a plan and we decided to commit to be there for this young mother and her baby boy that would need a lot of care. I am happy to say we are still in contact with her and Jaden (the name Brian gave him!)

This was April 30, 2008, just 4 days after his birth and my 25th birthday, when we found out we would not be parents to this baby boy. We decided to put our name back on the "list" with the agency and waited, feeling very discouraged but trusting in God's plan. Thirteen days later we got a call out of the blue that a baby girl had been born and that we were her Mommy and Daddy!!!! Our Lilian Grace was here and she was beautiful and perfect!!!!! When we got to the hospital she hadn't eaten anything. She was a day and a half old and wouldn't take a bottle. After meeting my brand new daughter for a few minutes I told the nurses I wanted to try to breastfeed so I sat down and she latched the first try. Everyone around me was crying and one nurse said, "Well she was just waiting to eat until her Mommy got here!" I will never forget that moment and Brian and I were in love!

A few months later we got a call that the birth mom was pregnant again and wanted us to adopt this baby too. We said yes and began preparing for another baby! Just thirteen months after Lily was born we got a call that our Jaxon David was born and he was big! We got to meet Jax when he was one hour old. We stared into the big and curious eyes of our 21 inch long and 8lbs 13oz baby boy and fell in love again! And just like his big sister he nursed right away!!

God was so very gracious to not give us a biological child when we asked! We would never have our amazing children who bring us such joy every day! Adoption has also opened our eyes to the love that Jesus has for us. How deeply we feel His love now since we have experienced the adoption of our children. Our love for our children is ferocious and never-ending and how amazing is it to think that God loves us this much and more?!

A year went by and I was ready to adopt again. Brian was not so ready... Our kiddos were going through their "Terrible Twos" at the same time and life was chaotic! I decided not to push my husband toward having another baby and just pray that God would make our hearts agree. So just last year (2012) Brian stated that he was ready for more kids and that he wanted to pursue fertility treatments again. I was pretty shocked to hear this because I was beginning to think we would never have any more children and I never in a million years thought we would go down the fertility treatment road again! We were given the name of an amazing fertility doctor and started working with him right away. After 3 IUI attempts and a surgery to remove my endometriosis, we decided to do IVF. I always felt negative toward IVF not because they take an egg and sperm and join them outside of your body, but because there are so many frozen embryos that never get a chance at life. After researching, praying, seeking counsel and praying some more, we decided to move forward with IVF knowing that we would attempt to get pregnant with each and every embryo that was created.

On our first IVF attempt we were amazed to hear we had 2 healthy embryos!!! We froze one and the other was placed inside me. We even got to see it happen through a sonogram. As the doctor guided the tiny embryo through a long tube and inside of me he said, "Okay here is the baby. You are now officially pregnant!" It was a miraculous moment! We waited a couple of weeks to make sure my body accepted the baby and were over the moon when we found out everything was going perfectly. 9 months later our sweet Jordyn Brook was born and fits into our family so well! We will attempt to get pregnant with the frozen embryo when Jordyn is done nursing.

We have three miracle babies that God has blessed us with and we are so thankful every single day for what He has done!  We can't even believe God has allowed us to be a part of it! He is so good and does amazing things. Each time I tell someone our story I am brought to worship. I hope you were too :)

We praise the Lord for the work He has done in the Helm's life and find so much hope and encouragement in their story. 

With love,
the Hofs

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