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Dedication Day

Today we dedicated Ethan at church. It was a very moving and special service to both Matt and I. We had been planning it for a while - wanting to wait until after the adoption was final - and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Pastor's message on answered prayers spoke straight to our hearts, as we gazed teary eyed at this adorable and lovable baby boy squealing and smiling in my arms. How amazing is this story? How could it be anything other than God's story for us? It's so very humbling and so incredibly wonderful.
Here we sat, surrounded by so many of our loving friends and family. Ethan's supporters filled multiple pews! I couldn't help but smile through joyful tears at how amazingly blessed we are. As we stood up in front of the congregation and dedicated ourselves to raising Ethan to know Jesus, I was struck at how each one of those supporters had left an indelible mark on us, on our life. We simply would not, COULD not be where we are today without them...without you, dear ones. I was so struck thinking of all the love you have shown us over the years; how you raised us to be strong, determined, and committed, how you showered us with compassion, generosity and selflessness, how you encouraged us, provided for us, and let us lean on you in countless ways. You have all shown us Jesus. And it is so powerful to see Him reflected back through us and through Ethan. So, so humbling and so incredibly wonderful.
Pastor had asked me if I'd like to share a little of our story during the service today, so I wrote a little something for him to read - knowing my quivering voice would be difficult for everyone to understand. Hearing my words read aloud was a strange feeling. Hearing a small piece of our story read aloud...made it all the more real. We have waited so very long. We have endured so many unimaginable circumstances. And yet, eventually...Ethan came to us. Such a miracle! Here is what I wrote:
'Sixteen years ago – almost exactly – Matt and I decided we wanted to try and start a family. We assumed that because we wanted a child, God would bless us with one, but it wasn’t quite that simple. Looking back on the years of heartache, it’s hard to understand all that we had to go through to get to our sweet Ethan. The plan God had for us has taken so many unexpected turns – we couldn’t have known then where we would be now. After Matt’s stroke in 2005 we both assumed we were just not meant to be parents…and we put the dream aside.
Slowly over time, however, we began to realize our dream wasn’t necessarily over. Our close friends had a baby, our Goddaughter Estelle. She quickly became a very special child to us, coming along when we started to open ourselves up to the idea of being parents again – despite all of the changes in our lives. She loved Matt unconditionally. His chair was a built in stroller in which she was perfectly content to sit. Her eyes lit up when he came into the room and she smiled at the sound of his voice. But the joy that filled his heart as she one day toddled across the room; arms open wide, to hug him made him realize something important. He could love and raise that child as his own – regardless of whether or not she was biologically ours, and despite his physical disabilities. We truly believe it was God working in our lives, showing us then a glimpse of how things could be for us. We decided to pursue fertility treatments once again – but after failed attempts and suffering a miscarriage we found ourselves questioning whether we wanted to be pregnant, or wanted to be parents. Estelle helped lay the foundation for us, and it wasn’t a difficult question to answer – of course we just wanted to be parents. And so, we set out on a new journey, in the hopes that God would work together our lives and that of a birth family - in His perfect timing.
Eighteen months later – we got the call that we had been chosen by an expectant mother in Florida. She had read our story, poured over our pictures, and felt confident that we would be wonderful parents for her unborn baby boy. She wrote us the most amazing letter and we cried tears of joy and disbelief as we read her heartfelt words. It was a miracle! After months of waiting, wondering, and feeling rejected – we finally had our yes. Seven short weeks later – Ethan was born, healthy and perfect. After fifteen years…we were finally parents! 
As we prepare to dedicate Ethan to the Lord, our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing gift He has given us. We prayed for this child for so many years – alongside many of you dear family and friends. After all the years of heartache, waiting, wondering, and loss – we finally know the incredible joy of parenthood! Ethan is more than we could have hoped for and we will forever be grateful that we GET to be his parents. While it was a long and winding road to get to here, Ethan Philip was worth it all. He is the most wonderful gift. He is God’s promise and provision – he is our son forever!'

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