My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

Finding Hope in the Broken Places

I’ve talked about adoption here before, telling my own story. Today I welcome a fellow writer to share a piece of her journey, in all it’s beautiful broken pieces. 

Natalie shares her story of finding grace as she discovered Jesus sitting with her in the darkest moments of her journey. We all have different stories, but This Undeserved Life shows us all how to grip grief and grace even in our darkest moments.

Let Natalie’s words wash over your heart today.

You can find hope in the broken places. My Ink Dance shares from This Undeserved Life

I checked my inbox every hour, waiting to see emails from our adoption agency about expectant moms and parents making an adoption plan. It was a nice distraction from our traumatizing church situation. We received about four each week; some weeks as many as seven and other weeks as few as none. These emails were sent to multiple potential adoptive families working with said agency. Included are invasive details about expectant mothers’ (and sometimes fathers’) medical history. Often times we would read about their jobs, favorite music and foods, weight and height and race, whether or not they are married. Sometimes pictures were included. We had the opportunity to take each situation and decide whether or not to present our family profile book. Presenting incited so much anticipation. When we chose to present to an expectant mom making an adoption plan, this meant she could choose us to parent her child and our family would grow an entire extension.

We were presenting to expectant parents of twins, due in February. Twins! We were unsure if this expectant mom making an adoption plan would even look at us, since we had the sticker on our profile reading, “This couple is also pregnant, but still hoping to be a family for a baby.” To us, it was always worth presenting; what if we were meant to raise virtual triplets?

“I just wanted to let you know the expectant mother narrowed down her choices to two adoptive families, and you were not chosen.” This email had come many times, along with this one: “The expectant mother has decided to parent her baby and is no longer making an adoption plan.” At this point, neither email made me cry. I trusted the best decision was made.

We had said “yes” to four different potential adoption situations. Four yeses only to receive four “noes” by November of 2015. In the grand scheme, this is very few; it was a wild emotional toll, though.  We continuously did our best to breathe in and out, trusting Jesus had the adoption story in His palm. He was writing the story, and we needed not worry.

You can find hope in the broken places. My Ink Dance shares from This Undeserved Life

Yet, saying “yes” to a situation was much more than a verbal agreement, or typing words into an email. Saying “yes” was allowing our hearts to be at stake—open and vulnerable—loving strangers we had never met face to face.

We were not only saying “yes” to potentially parenting each baby or set of babies, but we were saying “yes” to all the unknowns; the hidden baggage and tragedy inevitably accompanying adoption. We were saying “yes” to a history we had no information about.

We may have said “yes” to staying in the NICU for weeks to months, watching our baby be weaned off cocaine or meth. We may have said “yes” to risking transferring Hepatitis C from mama to baby. We may have said “yes” to an unknown father.  We could have said “yes” to any unknown medical or substance histories; someone for whom we could only trust Jesus with. The fees due for any adoption would be thousands of dollars we didn’t have, but we remained confident He would provide for us perfectly.

Hearing “no” wasn’t the end of the world, or our adoption journey. I found myself confident, this is the one, situation after situation. I imagined meeting expectant mamas and how in the world I would walk the tension of grief and joy.

We received such invasive details about expectant mothers making adoption plans; my heart cracked wide open to love deeper than ever before.

In crying out to Him and praying for these parents with unplanned pregnancies, I was reminded over and over this isn’t about us. For every no we received, it meant someone else receiving the blessing of a baby; whether that be expectant mom choosing to parent or another hopeful adoptive family. We continued saying yes to presenting, holding our hands open and clinging to His closeness in all the uncertainty.

We were not chosen to parent this precious set of twins, due in January/February. Though we were not chosen to parent those twins, due in the next three months, we hoped our “yes” would one day be responded to with another “yes.” We trusted whoever that expectant mama chose to parent her twins was exactly who her twins needed. That family will be very, very blessed to grow by 4 feet. In this truth, I rejoice and move forward. Rejoicing comes easy when I make the journey less about me and more about Him.

Hope can be hidden in the middle of your grief. Find it today. 2015 was scraping me thin and punching me in the gut. Loren experienced it too. We were growing soul tired. And though we were soul tired, weary and thinner than thin, adoption was forcing me to lean into Jesus in a different way than anything else ever had. During a time of complete unrest and chaos (jobless and without our community, a high-risk pregnancy), we had been given an amazing opportunity to pray for expectant families and in-utero babies. Knowing such intensely intimate details about these expectant mamas and families made praying for them an immensely powerful journey.

Despite the continual “noes,” we continued waiting and praying. We knew we were meant to become a family with the birth of a baby. We continued saying “yes,” even at the risk of what felt like rejection. Adoption isn’t about us.

Natalie Brenner shares from This Undeserved Life at My Ink DanceNatalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She’s addicted to honesty. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she’d love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a wanna-be runner. Connect with her at and join her popular email list.

***The post above is an excerpt from This Undeserved Life. Click here to read the rest today!***

Sharing words at #raralinkup and with these great writers today!

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I'm here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

22 Replies

  1. Natalie, how brave and strong you are! Your positive and surrendered attitude is such a game changer. Prayers and blessings for you and Loren as God is creating the family he wants for you.

  2. Becky, thanks for sharing Natalie’s book here. I’ve just finished reviewing Kristin Hill Taylor’s book on her adoption journey. It’s amazing how God works (and will stop at nothing!) to bring about His good plans.

    1. Becky, I was thinking of Kristin’s book also as I read Natalie’s story.

      1. Becky Hastings

        I’m so excited for Kristin to share her story!

    2. Becky Hastings

      Amen! His plan is always good and will always come to be. Even when we don’t understand every step along the journey.

  3. So humbling. Miracles! Love this, thanks for sharing here today! I am going to check out your blog now…

    1. Becky Hastings

      Amen for Miracles in the process!

  4. Becky & Natalie,
    I have gone through many trials in life, but the adoption process has not been one of them. My heart ached with each time your answer was “No”. How hard to keep trusting in our good Father when the answer doesn’t come that you want. What a testimony to your continuing faith and trusting Love’s heart.
    Bev xx

    1. Becky Hastings

      It is so amazing how hearing someone else’s story can help our own, even if the circumstances are different. So glad you’re here today Bev!

  5. Thank you for being vulnerable and relatable to so many! We are about to start training to foster kids and the 4 of us will have a journey too. As long as we leave the future in God’s hands, we will all be OK!

    1. Becky Hastings

      How exciting! I know it can be scary too, but keep your eyes on God through every step. And when they look away bring them right back. It’s all grace 🙂

  6. Oooh, excellent teaser post, because now I can’t not know the end of the story. 🙂 So much of life isn’t about us, is it? Oh to be mindful of that in the difficult moments. Thanks for sharing, Natalie and Becky. 🙂 ((Hug))

    1. Becky Hastings

      It is so hard to remember that! But God remembers for us, even when we can’t. So glad you’re here today 🙂

  7. Your story of patiently waiting is such an encouragement. We get so many ‘No’s” in our lives for various prayer matters .Yet your life story reminded me to wait in the Lord patiently.
    Visiting you from dancewithJesus link up


    1. Becky Hastings

      Natalie does a great job of encouraging us to wait on God by sharing her story! So glad you’re here today!

  8. Beautiful testimony! I’m waiting to birth something in my own life, not a child, but important to me. I needed the reminder that I’m waiting on the Lord! Blessings!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yes, yes, yes! Holding out hope for you today friend. Real God hope 🙂

  9. I love your perspective that a no for you meant a yes for another family. That is a true reflection of God’s heart. Beautiful post. Stopping by from Grace and Truth Link Up.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Wasn’t that fantastic?!

  10. Thank you for sharing. Such vulnerability already expressed here. You are indeed strong and brave. This journey requires great faith. Keep trusting and believing for God to bless you with your heart’s desire. You inspire me to have faith.

    1. Becky Hastings

      So grateful you found these words inspiring. Hold onto that faith friend!

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