Monday, September 22, 2014

New Blog!

Hi friends!

I've started a new blog that pulls all aspects of my life into one place. You are very welcome to read it. I'll be continuing my adoption and infertility posts over there, although I do plan on copying the posts here, too. This space has been so important to me - I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to it yet!

My new blog:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why We're Adopting

Today I applied for an adoption grant through our church association. It's a neat ministry where Southern Baptist pastors and missionaries can apply to receive aid for an adoption. Exciting, right? As part of the application, I had to share why we're adopting, and this is what I wrote:

Our journey to adoption has been a long one, and at times it has been full of many tears. We were married in 2005 and knew we wanted a family–and a big one at that!–but our plans to have children didn’t go as we thought. After much prayer and counsel, we felt led to begin fertility treatments, beginning with the most conservative treatment and ending with a last-effort attempt of In-Vitro Fertilization. During that time, we found out Candace had severe endometriosis that required surgery, and just before our IVF, she was diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Syndrome. We were heartbroken as we heard our doctor tell us we had a less than 1% chance of conceiving.

Infertility is often a huge burden for a couple to bear–financially, emotionally, and spiritually. We experienced great loss and heartbreak, calling on God’s strength and love and the support of our church to get us through something we simply did not understand. Through some research, Candace became connected with Bethany Christian Services, an organization that offered infertility counsel and help. Little did we know that this would be the organization, years later, that we would join with to bring a child home!

Although we never began our marriage thinking adoption would be part of our life, here we are, excited and ready to grow our family through adoption! God has done a huge healing in our lives, mending the brokenness from so many “fails” and opening up our hearts to something new and different. We also see how God was preparing us along the way, without us even knowing it. Rob, as an Associate Pastor, is over a number of different areas, one of them being our youth ministry. Candace, a high school teacher, has been part of that with him, as well as the children’s ministry. God has placed us in so many areas of service that involve children, showing us that His love is what binds us. God has used our experiences, our joys and our pain over the past years to grow us and prepare us to be Christ-like adoptive parents to a little one.

We began our process and home study at the beginning of 2014 and just completed it in July. Although the journey has been long, our reason for adopting seems simple now: God has poured out his love and mercy on us, and we want to do the same. We want to experience–as a family–God’s redemption through adoption. We are excited to work with Bethany Christian Services to match us with a birth mother who is choosing a plan of adoption for her child. We will be part of an open adoption, meaning we will be connected to the birth mother and possibly the birth father, as well as extended family. We know there will be tough moments along the way, but we trust that God is working this out to be something beautiful.

I'll let you all know if we receive this help! Please pray that God's will is done in this! Also, if anyone is interested in supporting us financially in our adoption, you are certainly welcome to :) You can send support to our church's adoption fund, making a note that it is for the Feely family. (This gift is tax deductible, so if you would like a receipt be sure and include a request for one with your name and home address.) Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! This child is already so loved. :)

Sierra Baptist Church
1437 E. Walnut Ave.
Visalia, CA 93292

Saturday, July 26, 2014

We're waiting...officially!

Today we sent off our adoption profiles! At this point, our home study is completely finished, and we are an official waiting family! We are full of joy and are definitely celebrating this moment! Woo-hoo!

Monday, July 14, 2014


I shared this on my personal blog this morning but thought I'd share it here, as well, for my sweet Loveliest Way readers.

A little over a week ago, our head pastor was in a serious bicycling accident while making his way back from a morning ride. As far as we know, he somehow lost control of his bike and crashed head-first into a boulder. His injuries are serious, and although he is making great progress for the type of trauma he experienced, he still has a long journey ahead.

Please pray for him and his family, specifically his wife who is at his side every moment she can be. Pray for our church and for my husband, Rob, who is the associate pastor of our church. A great burden is on his shoulders to keep everything up, and he needs wisdom and strength as he continues to lead the church.

We see God's hand in all of this. God spared our pastor's life and is already working mightily in his healing. He provided help quickly in spite of cell phones not having reception. He orchestrated people, including our pastor's children and some extended family, to be home and nearby when needed. He blessed us this past week at our VBS and youth event, and He even prepared Rob and me by allowing us to get the majority of our adoption work finished so we can be present with our pastor and church in this time.

It makes it all the easier to trust the Lord when He is already proving Himself faithful! If you are interested in keeping up with the progress of our pastor, you can follow the updates on this Facebook page.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Healthy and Safe

This week, we finished the last of our items on the giant list. We completed our Preference Survey and handed it in to our social worker.

This may have been the hardest part yet. It didn't require the hours of design and writing the Adoption Profile took, and it didn't require quizzes to receive credit (as each online course does), but it dug deep into my heart more than anything else. 

The Preference Survey is a lengthy questionnaire that explains what we're open to adopting, specifically regarding health and background. We prayed (and cried, at times) our way through it, recognizing that this–I'll say it again–is hard.

I've been friends with many pregnant women now, and I've prayed with them as they carried their babies. I have yet to experience a woman who has ever asked for anything except that her baby would be healthy. That's it. That's a mother's deepest desire: that her tiny baby growing inside would be healthy and safe.

But, to be honest, there really isn't a box to check that says "healthy and safe" on the survey. The reality is that many and arguably all of these babies are entering the world with some amount of trauma. And so, we must decide what we can handle, what God has equipped us to do. I have no doubt in my mind that I will love any baby we get to hold in our arms and have for life, but that fact doesn't make this any easier. I, like any mother-to-be, want my baby to be healthy and safe.

This is yet one more loss we must face in our infertility, one more piece we must release. I have no control over what happens to our baby during its nine months of life with its mother. Even as we completed the survey and explained what we were open to, we both recognized that all of this is out of our hands. We are at the mercy of God, depending on His grace and His plan to make this work out for good.

I've been reminded, though, that we are depending on God's grace and His plan for good every single day. We try to keep ourselves and those we love healthy and safe, but sometimes God allows otherwise. This week alone, we saw that happen on a huge scale with someone we love, and everything we believe comes to the surface during these moments. Is God who He says He is, even in the face of illness, accidents, and loss? Is God still good, is His plan still perfect, even when we're not healthy and safe?

The answer is yes. Yes, God is who He says He is; yes, God still is good; yes, God's plan is perfect. In trials, in loss, in things we don't understand, God is working out His plan, a plan much much bigger than keeping our bodies healthy and safe. In my humanness, in my weakness, I can be entirely concerned with protecting this body, when perhaps God cares more about the health and continuing salvation of our souls.

It's at this point of understanding that I'm left completely helpless and dependent on God. Every single thing is out of my control, but He has a purpose for each joy and trial in my life. I praise Him that He has neither surprise at the things that happen, nor fear. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. This is my comfort and peace in life: He knows, He can, and He loves. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grace for today

Yesterday started strong. We had finished our adoption profile and completed our home inspection. I woke up, my body and mind alert to begin working on something, then quickly realized there wasn't much to do anymore. We had gotten through that strenuous 90-day assessment process, and so I poured myself a cup of coffee, ready to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing day.


I should know by now. I really should. Every single time we hit a milestone or cross a bridge, the weight of it all falls on me again. The day may have started strong, but soon I was a wreck. A sobbing mess.

You know, I grow weary of these complicated emotions of mine. Grief and joy. Loss and hope. Confident one moment, then terrified the next. Strong in the morning, but weak by noon.

Here's the thing about us: we threw out our rose-colored glasses long ago. From the moment we decided to grow our family, it has been hard. Even now, even though we are in the adoption process and we believe that we will have our child one day, the road ahead is still difficult.

I was reminded of something I learned at our Bible study this past winter. Beth Moore said something so profound (and Kelly unknowingly echoed it yesterday). Beth said that when we put ourselves in these future situations, these situations that are hard and even frightening, we are envisioning ourselves there without the grace and help of God.

God has given us grace for today, for what He's calling us to right now. He's guided us, loved us, provided for us, and we have every reason to trust Him. We don't know why certain things have happened or not happened. We don't know how it will all work out. But we know that He's here, and He has a plan. We know that every single day, He gives us what we need to be strong and brave and faithful.

That's the key, though: He gives it to us. Which means that we have to recognize our weakness and allow Him to be our strength. It was okay that I fell to pieces yesterday. This is huge! This is bigger than anything we can do on our own. But if I simply remained in my crumpled state, I'd be missing out on who God is in my life. He gives me strength for each day and grace for each moment. He is our hope for today and for our future.

Little by little, I allowed Him to strengthen me yesterday. My friends and family encouraged me; my husband supported me; and the words in Scripture empowered me. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).

By the evening, there was peace in my heart, and there still is. I know tears will come again, and I know there will be tough days ahead. But I hope I remember sooner than later that God gives us what we need in the moment we need it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adoption Profile...Check!

We finished our adoption profile last night! It has been nearly a week of working on this, and I have no doubt we've spent at least 40 hours on it. It's complete, though, and the order is on the way. What a huge weight off of our shoulders! We also had our inspection yesterday, so it was a big day for the Feely's.

Here's the final cut. Note that for this post, I took out a few photos and bits of information, so if there are blank spots, rest assured that those are filled :)

Page 1: Individual Information
Pages 2-3: Joint Information
Pages 4-5: Letter to the Birth Parents
Pages 6-7: About Us
Pages 8-9: Places We Love
Pages 10-11: Our Family, Friends, and Faith
Page 12: Our Home