It was a trying time for Shelby and Brian Helm. All around them were expectant couples, jubilant at impending parenthood.
“It was as really difficult time as all of our friends were having children and it seemed like everyone could get pregnant but us,” Shelby said. “We had been through a few years of infertility and were desiring to have a child with all our hearts.”
Thankfully, God was near to them and their marriage stayed strong. God also brought a couple into their lives who would change everything.
“Our friends were the Stubblefields and they started pursuing adoption through Inheritance Adoptions,” Shelby said. “They had heard about the agency through some friends at our church that had adopted using them. We were blessed to watch the whole super quick process unfold. We helped them get their house ready for the home study, get car seats and baby gear, etc. They had a couple of failed adoptions, but then they got their precious Avery and it made it all worth it.”
The two couples laughed together and cried together. They did research together. The thrill the Helms got when their friends brought home their first born was as if they had adopted themselves. Soon afterward, the Helms decided to pursue adoption as well.
“Adoption had been in the back of our minds throughout the Stubblefield’s process to adopt and once we saw them holding their baby, it became obvious to us that this would be our path as well,” Shelby said. “Our adoption was fast and furious, too, and we also had a failed adoption. But finally holding our sweet Lilian Grace made all the pain worth it.”
By the next June, the couple brought home Lily’s biological sibling Jax. The two children were 13 months apart, but according to Shelby, God gave her plenty of energy to keep up.
“Today, they are 10 and 9 and everyone thinks they are twins.” Shelby said. “Jax has ADHD and was having some difficulty in school, so we did neurofeedback and have seen a dramatic difference in his behavior, demeanor and learning. We are so thankful to have found a doctor who loves him and wants the best for him like we do.”
Shelby is also thankful for the story God is writing for her family.
“I could have never dreamed up this life, but it is so much better than any dream I ever had,” she said.
Lily and Jax are the most “fun kiddos ever” said Shelby. There’s never a dull moment in the Helm household.
“We travel a lot and it is fun to see our passions become their passions, but also forming passions of their own that Brian and I can get excited about, too,” Shelby said. “They love to read, play, swim, play sports and most of all they love to laugh.”
The story of how the children came to be a part of the Helm family is one Shelby has enjoyed sharing with them.
“There are some details that we will wait to share when they are much older, but they know they were adopted and their special story that goes along with it,” Shelby said. “They know a birth mom carried them in her belly and then how my husband and I got to become their mommy and daddy just as soon as they were born. They know how bad my husband and I desired a baby and that God kept saying ‘no’ over and over when we begged Him to let us get pregnant. But then how He answered our prayers in a much better way by letting us be their parents.”
Shelby describes the entire journey as scary, but beautiful.
“There is no better picture of Christ’s love for us as adopting a child is,” she said. “We may love imperfectly, but we pray we are a gift to our kiddos and without a doubt they are the best gift we could ever be given!”
By Sarah Johnson
Thank you so much for all the pictures! Y’all are such a beautiful family. I couldn’t have found a better family for Mia. I am so very very thankful that y’all are giving her the life that she deserves. I am looking forward to meeting you when I get home. I am 2 weeks shy of being half way done with my program. Pretty soon I will be finding out if I am able to go straight home, or if I have to go to a halfway house for 3 months. During the time I have been here, I have realized that I have been taking the easy road by trying to forget life’s problems by using drugs. I got my GED last month, and I am going to be enrolling in my local community college upon returning home. By the grace of God, I have no drug charges, so I am interested in becoming an EMT, and then possibly majoring in psychology. Thank you both so much for everything that you do for Mia. I know in my heart that I made the perfect choice. In every picture she is smiling, and just so happy. Thank y’all so much for sending me pictures and updates. I really do appreciate it.
Letter to Adoptive Couple
From the moment I conceived you and found out that I was having you, I wanted nothing but the best for you. I wanted to be the best mom, but you needed a daddy too. I was sad and confused, I felt lost and alone, I did what I thought was necessary to give you a better home. I loved you and I love you more than I think you’ll ever know, it hurt me so bad to have had to let you go. lease don’t think I just didn’t care, you deserved so much more than a mom who was scared. I met with Inheritance Adoptions and found the perfect husband and wife to love you unconditionally, a mom and a dad to give you a better life.
I think so many times as adoptive couples we get caught up in our own feelings we forget what our birthmothers are going through. We all have to write the ‘dear birthmother’ letter that is required but how many of us can really relate to the words we write? Most of us have never felt the pain, poverty, abuse or addiction some of these girls have experienced. We have no idea what it feels like to be homeless and hungry with a baby in tow and one on the way. Now add to those circumstances having to make the decision to place the baby you’ve been carrying for 9 months in the arms of another family. To see their faces glow with joy while inside you’re dying. To be so desperate your only choice is to give up the precious life that has been growing inside you. I don’t think most of us have ever experienced that kind of despair and desperation. After our daughter was born I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt, not wanting to feel like I had taken something she didn’t want to give away. I struggled for weeks just wanting her to be okay with the decision. It wasn’t until she visited our daughter a couple of weeks later I felt she had made peace with her choice to place her baby with us. I hope no matter where you are the adoption process that you can step back from your own feelings and really think what it must be like to be on the other end. The amount of time you have waited to be parents will pale in comparison to the years she will be without her child.
Dear Inheritance Adoptions,
I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a wonderful experience that we had recently. Although our son, Mattew (age 9), has been able to see his birth mother and her two children several times over the years, his birth father, Armando, has always lived out of state and quite some distance from our home in the DFW area. In the last year or so, we have found Facebook to be a great way to communicate with him. We often post notes and pictures about Matthew and Armando is able to see his latest accomplishments and comment on them, which our son really loves.
Over the July 4th weekend, we planned a road trip in the direction of his state, and when we realized that we would end up within 7 hours of each other, we contacted Armando to see if he might be interested in meeting us somewhere in the middle. We worked out the details, and on July 4th Matthew and Armando finally got to meet each other. Armando brought his young son and daughter – Matthew’s half-siblings – and everyone had a great time together at the local Independence Day festival. Matthew was visibly proud to get to know his birth father and siblings! And Armando made it very special for him – he brought two albums full of photos, with pictures of himself as a boy as well as all of Matthew’s biological family. Some of them had even written letters to Matthew. It was immediately apparent that they all care very deeply for him! But the cherry on top was at the end of the day, when Armando went to his vehicle and brought Matthew one last gift – his high school football helmet. Matthew wore it for hours afterward!
On the way back to our vacation spot we spoke of you, Leslie, and we recalled how you had encouraged us to participate in open adoption all those years ago. Because of your influence, our son knows both his birth mother and his birth father and their children, and the doors are wide open for those relationships to grow. He does not have to wonder where he came from, and we know that it brings him peace. Thank you very much for your guidance, and best wishes to you and all of your wonderful staff at Inheritance Adoptions!
Steve and Gloria
Sometimes we assist women and we loose touch with them. They move or life just gets busy for them. We often wonder if we helped at all! When we get notes like the one below it proves that even though you may not see the results of your work or even your prayers at the time, it doesn’t mean God isn’t at work! Names have been changed!
I’m doing great! A lot has changed for me in the past 6 years! I am married to a wonderful man, and have a little girl who just turned 3! I have gotten full custody back of my oldest daughter who is now 9. I have a great job, and I have finally got my life together. It has been a long road but I have made it through. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you and your agency did for me 6 years ago. I was going through a time in my life where honestly I thought I would never be in. Y’all made it a lot easier, and I honestly could not have done it without y’all’s support. I am so glad I was able to find parents for John like Mary and Bob. This experience even though one of the hardest decisions ever in my life, not once have I regretted that I did. I know Mary and Bob are great people and he is in a very loving home! Again, thank you for everything! I will definitely stay in touch with you!
A Birth Mom
Past Birth mom
I’ll give you just a little background on this blog first! This is a letter from a birthmother who placed a couple of years ago. She had a rough life and was on a downward spiral of destruction. Before she got pregnant she committed a crime that would warrant prison time. The sentence was held off do to a high risk pregnancy, but a few months after she had her little boy she went to prison. She has been there over a year and has over a year go to. I have been corresponding through mail with her the whole time, and send her bible studies often. I like to send her bible studies from Beth Moore. Beth has a background similar to this birthmom so I like for her to see that you CAN live a godly life. She has completed Beth Moore’s Breaking Free study and she just started reading Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity book. This book really touched me and even while I read this book on my own I thought of this birthmom often. I knew that one day I had to get this for her. So I had it sent to her and she has been reading it. This is the letter I got from her last week:
Oh my where to even start? 🙂 Thanks for the pictures and the blog. WOW is the main thing on my mind. Honesty time – When I first got the book I said to myself… “Self.. I am going to read it, but it really doesn’t apply to me!” HA! Really… I said that 🙂 Funny thing is I think I really meant it! Then I began to read… 2 chapters in and I’m seeing MYSELF on EVERY page and I’m SO not loving it! So of course I begin trying to rationalize, justify, and of course deny. I got mad at the book, threatened to throw it away. My husband probably thinks I’m completely insane because I start writing all kinds of does this sound like me letters! Me? Insecure? This is ME we are talking about here!! I have made SOME progress I’m done with the rationalizing and denying. I have also gone back and reread, marked, and made notes all in it. I’m a little over 1/2 way done. I am a fast reader but have to keep going back to make myself be honest and really answer truthfully. I got to the prayer yesterday and it has takin me 2 days to complete it. In tears I pray this, because I really really want this for me! The whole prayer is awesome, but oh Misty, page 172 second chapter – I KNOW she was talking specifically about me when she says, “Help me to resign my position as a game player and manipulator without resigning myself to a life of misuse!” I want that!! I am so tired of, “playing the game” of scheming and lying and I really want my life to be different when I come home. I am determined to make it so. But that old me tells myself that if I’m not “playing the game” I will be the one getting played. Crazy how satan knows my weakness and uses it so well! I sometimes wonder why it can’t be for me like I have heard so many people say, “when I hit bottom I prayed and God took the desire away”. BS! I pray and I pray and I still struggle so much, so I begin to wonder am I just too bad or too far gone to really change? But I know that’s the devil trying to make me think it’s too late to change. So I ask you this… If I know this, why do I still think it? Not all the time, but enough to worry about! Ok friend I’m done tripping for today! I love the book, I hate the book, but it is so awesome!! Thanks again!
New subject… he (little boy) is SO big and he looks so happy and healthy! I look at him and think to myself that I may have messed up so much other stuff, but I did one thing right in choosing to give him to them (the adoptive couple). Honestly after being sober for this long, married to a stable “square” man I questioned myself if I knew then what I do now… I mean that I was going to get married and would be able to provide a home etc. Would I still have done it? Then I look at this picture and I know he is exactly where he was meant to be because God chose his parents way before he was ever formed in me!
I love getting her letters because she has changed SOOOOOOOO much since I first met her! I love that I’m about to be there for women like this who just need SOMEONE to give them a chance, or maybe just another chance. Please join us in praying for this birthmom. She is trying so hard to over come A LOT. It’s going to be a struggle when she gets out for sure. It’s always good to get reassuring letters like this about the adoption as well. I’m so glad she has peace about it and feels this way! I believe in her so much and have confidence that she will do just fine!
Dear Prospective Parents,
As I take a deep breath, and try to put words on paper about our story of adoption, I wonder if I can do it justice. Our story begins like many others. We had dreams and aspirations when we first got married. Jim and I got married in 2005, and because we are an older couple we started to work on getting pregnant right away. Six months traveled by at the speed of light. We told ourselves “we will not be fanatics about it, it is not like I am going to start taking my temperature every morning.” Right! After 6 months of trying and not succeeding I started taking my temperature every morning to try and pin down exactly when I was ovulating. Just before our first anniversary we tried invitro-fertilization. The doctors implanted 2 eggs and two weeks later we learned our fate…it was unsuccessful. We were ill prepared for how devastating that was going to be. I was depressed for months. I did not want to try to get pregnant for a long time, but deep down I wanted God to reward me for giving my life over to Him and by “rewarding” I meant getting pregnant. Because of the stress of the unsuccessful invitro, Jim and I had a rough time in our marriage. This is not uncommon among infertile couples. We ended up being so frustrated that we started taking out the frustration on each other. Your spouse becomes your personal punching bag for the lack of control you feel. Yes, we all know that God is in control, but I believe that many women of infertile couples ask God “why did you make me a woman who desires to be a mother if you are not going to grant me that joy?”
Jim and I continued to let month after month go by while silently hoping that we would become pregnant but we didn’t want to talk to each other about it. It was our elephant in the room. Every “time of the month” would come and I would experience great heartache. So many nights I spent crying into my pillow. After a year passed we started to dialogue about children. We spoke with our infertility specialists and agreed that we would do an IUI (inter-uterine insemination). This is a procedure that is, compared to IVF, a breeze. We went on to complete and fail four IUI procedures. Again, I would ask God “Why?”
In April of 2008 I ran into a woman whom I have known since I was a child. I do not specifically keep in touch with her; however, we see each other maybe once a year at someone’s gathering. She and I were talking and she said to me “you have really been on my heart lately, I was wondering if I could pray with you?” Now, if someone wants to pray with me I am down with that and frankly, can’t wait. She called the prayer a soaking prayer. I told her about everything that was happening in my marriage and also our failed attempts at trying to conceive a child. We then prayed and she felt the Holy Spirit tell her that Jim and I were to stop using science to have a child and that the Lord was almost chuckling at our feeble attempts. She said that I was to trust Him that it was to happen all in His timing. As if I haven’t heard that before? However, I left that soaking prayer refreshed in His Spirit. After that meeting we stopped all “trying” including all fertility specialists help.
God has such a sense of humor sometimes. He had me in His hand the whole time. When I let go and let God, EVERYTHING started to fall into place! The very next month my mom was informed of this awesome adoption agency right in her hometown of Wichita Falls. Jim and I had been talking about the possibility of adoption for a year. Although, when we first began talking about it, we had the feeling “adoption was not really us and we will most likely get pregnant…” But as the days turned into months and months turned into years, it became more and more evident that adoption was our answer to becoming parents. It was coming to fruition. I then went to the website of Inheritance Adoptions and downloaded the application. The application is 35 pages long and it took me 6 weeks to fill it out. In July of 2008 we made our first trip to Texas to meet with the agency.
We were in a meeting with two other couples. Someone once said to me, “Infertility is like a special club. Unless your infertile, you can’t grasp the feeling of desperation. The heartache can not be compared. The endless questions to your Father. Other people may empathize but that is as far as it goes.” So when we were in our meeting with these two other couples, their stories were the same. Their tears were tears we had shed, and more that we shed together.
We spent the day much like an orientation. We all briefly got to know one another, we were schooled on the agency, we met birth mothers, and adoptive couples who shared their experiences respectfully. We left with so much more information and it was really wonderful to be encouraged in the direction of adoption. We learned that Inheritance is a ministry and doing God’s work and we were humbled and glad to be a part of that. We were instructed that if we wanted to continue on then there were steps we needed to take.
When we arrived back in Florida, we just continued on with our lives. We created our profile book and sent it to the agency. We were informed that it could take anywhere from 6 months to a year to have a placement. For the first time in a long time Jim and I felt freedom. Freedom of resting in God’s arms, feeling that we were in sync with His divine plan for us. We did not “wait by the phone”, we did not purchase things for a nursery, we did not worry and fret about when the Lord was going to bring us our child through adoption. It was wonderful to just be still and know that He is God and if adoption was how He was choosing for us to be parents, we would patiently wait.
In November of 2008 Leslie called me in the middle of me cooking dinner. Honestly, I had not plugged the agency’s number into my phone so when she said “Hi, it’s Leslie” it took me about 10 seconds to figure out who she was. “OH YES, of course, Leslie!” Fortunately, she was actually happy I didn’t remember right away. She told me of a young girl who was interested in meeting us. We then went on to set up a phone interview. The phone interview made both my husband and I nervous and our birthmom was nervous as well. We enjoyed the phone interview and then went on to set a time to fly to Texas to meet with the young girl. In an already overbooked and busy December, we were able to squeeze in a weekend trip to Texas. It was one of the most important trips of our lives.
Facilitated by the agency, we went with Misty and met our birthmom and her extended family for what was their Christmas gathering. She was a doll! Her parents and family were overwhelmingly gracious to us. We were relieved and elated that she had chosen us to be the parents of her baby. Her precious baby was coming very soon…the very next month. Almost in disbelief, but quite giddy at the wonderful news that we were going to parents to a new baby in January, we traveled back to Florida in a complete blur. Jim and I could not stop buzzing about our new addition to our family.
We spent the next 3 weeks celebrating the birth of our King, New Year’s, and the fact that a new baby was on its way into our family. Our birthmom’s name was Julie. She gave me her cell phone number and we fast became texting buddies. We chatted everyday about anything and everything. It was evident that we were going to love her, not solely on the fact that she was going to be the birthmom to our baby, but love her for who she is as a person. She is a good girl, who has a heart for God; is respectful and mindful of other people’s feelings…we just adored her!
January 22, 2009 was the due date of our child to be born. Julie and I lovingly refer to the baby as “ours,” because she is. Our baby was born on her due date. Julie graciously allowed me to be in the delivery room, cut the baby’s cord, and be the first person to hold our baby. I was honored to watch Julie labor over the birth of our child. She was so strong and so sweet. No yelling at people like you see in the movies. She was nothing short of awesome. When we went to the nursery with our baby, we looked outside the windows and so many of Julie’s family were there looking in, smiling, laughing, crying and taking pictures—I felt like they were the paparazzi! We soon named our baby Reese and she was PRECIOUS from the moment she was born. We are SO IN LOVE with her. Tying it all together, was that Reese was born in January which means she was conceived in April, the exact month I had that soaking prayer with my friend.
Julie allowed us the wonderful experience of keeping the baby in our room at the hospital. Reese has been in our arms from the moment she was born, thanks to our birthmom Julie. Julie texted me the night Reese was born to find out room we were staying in. I answered her back stating our room number and that we would see her first thing in the morning. I also told her that I was so proud of her. She worked so hard and did such a fantastic job delivering our baby. She texted me back saying, “Thank you but I did it all for you.” I was so touched by her heartfelt words.
The next few days in the hospital were wonderful. I didn’t really know what I was doing with our newborn, so the nurses and the doctor were great at giving me tips and assuring me that everything I was doing and witnessing with this great, little but big miracle in my arms was normal. Julie and I frequently visited each other’s hospital rooms like girls at summer camp. I carted the baby down to see her in her room and she came to see me in mine. Julie was surrounded by her family. They played a key part in supporting Julie in her adoption decision. She was only 15 years old when she gave birth to Reese. She was mature enough to know that she was too young to care properly for a child at the time. She made the best decision for her, and in doing so she made the best decision for us, as well. We had prayed and prayed to be parents to a child. God answered our prayers by giving us our child who was born of another woman.
We had to stay in the hospital with baby Reese longer than Julie. The doctor wanted to keep an eye on Reese. Julie gave birth on Thursday and left on Saturday. We did not leave until Sunday when Reese was cleared with a clean bill of health. I must tell you that I experienced great grief when Julie left that day. She left with her family, all 18 of them, I swear…and I just could not stop crying. Julie had given me the greatest gift and then …she left. It was a weird experience. I had a daughter now. I could not conceive a child but now thanks to this young girl, I had one. Julie had no idea the wonder of what she had done for me. I could not conceive and carry my own child, and yet this incredibly brave young girl gave birth for me. It was an unbelievably humbling experience.
I spoke with Leslie that night who assured me that the depression I felt was normal. I will be forever connected to this young woman who gave birth to my child. I then waited by my phone. I waited until Julie would text me. I felt like she was my boyfriend. I couldn’t wait to hear from her everyday and would get quite giddy when I did hear from her. I spent two weeks in Texas at my mom’s house with our newborn baby. Julie came by to visit and even stayed over night once. We took turns holding the baby, taking a million pictures of the baby, even watched a few movies.
We continue to keep in touch even now 6 months later but it is not as often. She is free to call, text, or email anytime. I will gladly send her pictures via cell phone anytime she asks and even send cute pictures of our baby even when she doesn’t ask…how could I not share this precious cuteness?
For Mother’s Day we sent her flowers and we got a sweet card from her. I pray that God is watching over Julie and that she makes it into the military to become a nurse once she graduates high school. My prayers for her mirror my prayers for our daughter. That God would be the center in her life, that she may dream big, marry a Godly man, and have as many children as God desires for her.
I hope this letter gives all waiting Moms and Dads encouragement in the adoption process. God has chosen us to be special parents. God decides the heartbeat of a child. He has picked another birthmom to house that heartbeat, until the child is born. He then chooses you to be their forever parents. A perfect privilege. Now ask yourselves, “How AWESOME is that?”
Love in Christ,
Elizabeth and Jim
We first came to Inheritance in September of 1997. We were heartbroken and desperate for a baby. We started the adoption process, not knowing how long or if we would ever get a baby. We had a failed adoption (not with Inheritance) in November of that year. We were still hoping for a baby and were still working with Inheritance.
In January of 1998, we received the best phone call ever! Inheritance had birthparents that wanted to meet us. The baby was already born and they wanted us to be his parents. We were very scared and nervous, but we knew we would never get a baby without taking another emotional risk.
We met the couple at Inheritance. We felt the meeting went well, but they wanted time to think about it. Later that night, we got the call that changed our lives. They chose us to be our son’s parents. We were so excited. The next day we brought our son home.
When our son was 18 months old, we once again decided we wanted another baby. We decided to go with Inheritance again because the adoption of our son went so smoothly. We started the process again in July of 1999. We again didn’t know how long it would take or if it would happen. In October of that same year, we got the call that we were chosen and a birth mother wanted to meet us. We were shocked! We didn’t think it would be that quick. We made plans for a meeting the next day. We were called early the next morning. The meeting place was changed. We would meet our birth mother at the hospital because she was in labor. Again we were in shock. Inheritance was with us all day and they were very supportive. They knew how stressful this whole process was on us, so they waited with us and they had even waited until the last moment to tell us about being chosen just in case. Our baby girl was born that evening. I was in the delivery room which was so exciting. I actually got to witness the birth of my baby girl! As you can imagine, we were so excited. Everything went smooth once again.
We felt like our family was complete until our daughter was about 2. We decided to once again contact Inheritance about adopting a 3 rd baby. In January of 2002 we got a call about a baby. Before we had even had time to decide, the baby was born. Not long after we brought the baby home, the birth mother changed her mind. We were devastated again, but we were so thankful for our 2 precious children God had already blessed us with. In July of 2002, we were chosen once again. We didn’t know if to get our hopes up or even tell anyone. We met the birth parents and started planning for another girl. We were still very apprehensive. After 3 long months, our baby girl was born in October of 2002. We were so excited to bring her home. We finally felt like our family was complete.
Adoption can be the most heartbreaking and the most wonderful event that can happen to a family. Adoption is a very stressful process, but the reward is indescribable. We love our children so much that we forget they aren’t ours biologically. We feel very blessed by God that He has given us 3 wonderful, beautiful, healthy and bright children. We are so thankful for Inheritance and all the support they gave us through those years. We really believe without Inheritance, we would not have been able to afford to adopt 3 children and that we wouldn’t have the family that we have now.
Thank you Inheritance for our family!
Doug, Denise and Family
Doug, Denise and Family
I just have to share my awesomeness. I am a birth mother. I placed my son in June of 2009, it was the hardest, best thing I have ever done. When I began this long process I was flipping burgers at Carls Jr. After that, the agency helped me with lots of things, the most important was my education. I went to Guthrie Job Corps Center and I got my certification as a Computer Technician. Last week I got great news. I was offered a job from Dell in Oklahoma City where I am starting out at 17.31 an hour. Without the agency and their awesome people none of this would be possible. Thank you guys.