Bringing Maren Home

Today I have the honor of sharing a post from my sister-in-law, Brynn. It is a beautiful story of love and grace. All glory to God…
In December we had our home study conducted, which was the final step in our paperwork. Once that was completed, we spent a couple months waiting and praying for God’s perfect timing, for grants to come in, and mostly for the birthmother carrying our future child.
Our adoption facilitator, Charlotte, had communicated that we should be prepared for at all times, even though we did not have a match. On February 13th (Friday) around 10:30, my phone rang and it was Charlotte. She told me that there was a birthmother in labor, and she began to read us the details of her background. She had no prenatal care whatsoever, so she didn’t know the gender or health of the baby. She refused to provide any information on the birth father except that he was African-American and involved with her at work. Charlotte’s words were “Do you want to be considered for this match?” I was overjoyed, and said “YES PLEASE!!!” I quickly called Zack and let our family members know that we had potential to get a baby that very weekend.
Heads spinning, we felt really helpless as far as what to do next, so we just began to let a few people know and ask for prayer. Charlotte did tell us that this particular birthmother didn’t want any contact with us, but for the next 24 hours we prayed that she would let us meet her. When Maren was born at 3:21pm, Charlotte called to let us know it was a baby girl and that she was healthy at 6 lb 14 oz. Maren’s birthmother had asked if we would come to the hospital to meet them both the next day. This was such a surprise and a blessing for us that she had changed her mind! So on Valentine’s Day, we drove to the West Houston hospital with a bouquet of pink flowers and a note in our hands. It felt so appropriate to meet our baby girl on the holiday centered around love and affection. We were unsure what to do and what to say, but Charlotte prepared us as much as she could.
As we walked into the postpartum recovery room, we saw Maren’s birthmother, Darlyn, sitting up in the bed with her legs crossed. She looked young. I immediately noticed she had beautiful skin and thick black hair in a bun on the top of her head. She was hesitant and quiet, but we approached her to meet her and sat down to talk. She said that she had a very easy labor and she said she was ready to go back to work. We asked her how she was feeling, why she chose adoption, and whether she liked the name Maren Elena. We told her that Maren’s middle name was to honor her mother’s Hispanic roots and that’s why we chose the Spanish/Italian spelling. Darlyn was very stable emotionally, and she spoke clearly and intelligently about why she made an adoption plan for the baby girl. We both observed how smart she was, and Charlotte had told us that she graduated from high school with all As and Bs…and she did it all with two children!! Darlyn told us about her ambitions to work in a veterinary office. She mainly chose to place Maren because her mother was recently deported after living in Texas for 23 years. Her mother was her main source of support in caring for the two children she already had. When the small talk and initial questions died down, Zack took a moment to say “Darlyn, we want you to know that we love you, and we will always love you, and you are a hero to us.” We asked permission to hold the baby girl, and we were utterly amazed at her beauty. She had thick black hair like her mother, and the most perfect little face. I noticed that her head was square and not coned, and she had no birthmarks to be seen anywhere. She seemed so tiny compared to Levi, and her angelic nature seemed to say “love me! love me!”
I hope that everyone’s views of adoption and birthmothers will be powerfully shaped by this story, because Darlyn is a stable and hard-working young woman. She made the most loving and unselfish decision of her life by choosing to place Maren with us where she could have two parents and consistent provision.
In the note I (Brynn) wrote to her, I told her that she will ALWAYS be spoken of in our home with the utmost love, dignity, and honor. In the little time we spent with her, I was sure that she had more courage than anyone I had ever known.
We left that day very sad, knowing that adoption is a great miracle, but it all starts with a great tragedy.
On Sunday, we anxiously waited to hear that Maren and Darlyn would be discharged from the hospital and that we could go pick them up. It took longer than expected, but we went to the hospital around 6pm. Charlotte took our car seat and clothes upstairs where she sat with sweet Darlyn, who cried as she said goodbye to her baby girl. Finally, Darlyn was wheeled out of the front doors of the hospital towards our car. Zack took the carseat from her lap and put Maren in the back. I hopped out of the car and helped Darlyn into the front seat. We had no clue what to do. In the 30 seconds we were all in the car together, I remember reaching forward and putting my hand on her shoulder and saying “Darlyn… are you okay?” She was quiet and distant and said she was fine. We drove around the corner of the hospital where we dropped her off with Charlotte to terminate her parental rights. When she got out of our car, she walked away silently and never looked back. I saw her postpartum belly and was so heartbroken that she was going home that night with an empty belly and empty arms, too.
Zack and I sat in the car for a while trying to comprehend what had just happened. We took Maren out of her carseat and held her and kissed her and told her we loved her. We told family that it was complete.
We are not allowed to contact Darlyn, but she can always be in touch with us. We don’t know if we will ever hear from her again, but our prayer is that she will initiate contact so that we can send pictures and updates, and maybe one day let her meet Maren again.
Adoption is a mysterious facet of the Gospel, but Maren and her birthmother have helped us understand so much more!!!!
Zack said something so good that day: “the Gospel always calls us to have hope, even if that means embracing sorrow.”
We are filled with hope for Maren’s life and for the life of her birthmother. May God receive all praise for His glorious grace in this story.
Thank you all for sharing in our joy. We are overwhelmed with thankfulness to God.
Brynn and Zack
Please join with us in prayer for their precious family of four. Zack and Brynn are prayerfully trusting God to fully provide for their sweet Maren. If you would like to give towards their adoption, you may contact Brynn via email:
Zack, Brynn, and Maren
Zack, Brynn, and Maren

Maren & Zack Maren & Brynn

maren newborn close up maren in pink blanket
Because of His Grace,

I have not forgotten you…

I have not forgotten you.

Believe it or not, each time I post a picture related to my pregnancy, I think of all of you… All of you who are longing for your own child. All of you who are currently grieving a miscarriage. All of you who are trying and having been trying to get pregnant. All of you who have dealt with failed adoptions. All of you who desire to be a mother more than anything else…

If my excitement or pictures ever cause you pain, I apologize. My intent is to show God’s faithfulness through pictures; however, I prayerfully consider the effect they may have on those grieving. I remember how my husband and I felt after miscarrying our first child. I remember the heartache that I had never known before. I remember deeply desiring to hold the child we lost.

I have not forgotten you, but more importantly neither has He. My prayer for you is that God comforts you and strengthens you in your heartache. My prayer is that He will be enough to sustain you. I pray you are able to “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). He truly cares for you in a way no human can. My favorite scripture for the last 10 years has been Philippians 4: 6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When the world doesn’t make sense, I pray God’s peace will guard your heart and mind. When it seems like everyone you know is pregnant, I pray God gently reminds you that His plan is good for your life and that you can trust Him with all things. When it seems like no one remembers your loss, I pray God covers you with his unconditional love. When hope seems lost, I pray the God of hope fills you with joy and peace (Romans 15:13). I pray you are comforted by physical friendships with those who have experienced similar pain, but I encourage you to depend on God more than anyone else. He loves perfectly. He never forgets. He is faithful. You can trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Because of HIs Grace,