‘Beauty from ashes’

November 10, 2018 | 3:04 am

Updated November 16, 2018 | 8:37 pm

Photo courtesy of Melanie Hodskins Photography

Sometimes life catapults you into a moment so unforgettable, you know you will never be the same.

This was the moment they would remember forever, this sacred space where courage and love and sacrifice met in a hospital room, where brokenness found redemption, where a new family took the final uncertain steps from a dark night of mourning into a dawn of joy.

This moment had been a long time coming for Sara and Kyle Aud, this culmination of a journey that began with pregnancy a month after they were married and led to the death of their daughter Emelia in childbirth with no warning and no explanation.

Their road continued to wind through a year of secondary infertility, heartache, tears and prayer, until a year later they discovered an adoption consultancy based out of Alpharetta, Georgia called Faithful Adoption Consultants.

Living up to her driven, type-A personality, Sara completed the paperwork and she and Kyle finished the required home study so fast that just five weeks after their original phone call, they found themselves matched with an expectant mom who was 26 weeks pregnant.

Sara and the mother built a relationship through phone calls and texts. She then invited Kyle and Sara to be in the delivery room when their daughter was born.

Three weeks before the scheduled due date, they had to jump into the car for a frantic, post-Christmas party all-night drive from Owensboro to Florida because their baby girl decided to show up early.

They made it to the hospital before delivery and watched their daughter Ellington Claire “Elle” come into the world. Kyle cut the cord and Sara was the first person to hold and feed their daughter. At Elle’s first mom’s request, Sara spent the night in the room with her and Elle.

“Those are probably some of my most sacred memories,” she said, “getting to learn about the sacrifice and heart she had for Elle — and for us.”

After lots of education from Faithful Adoption Consultants, the Auds hoped and planned for an open adoption where they would maintain contact with the birth family. They were uniquely prepared to help the birth mom through the brave, difficult process of placing her child for adoption and for the life that follows that decision.

“We would never pretend to know what it’s like for Elle’s birth family, but we knew what it was like to leave the hospital without our baby, and it gave us common ground to start from,” Sara said. “To know what they did for her to have what they thought was a better life … that type of sacrifice is completely unexplainable. From complete brokenness, it’s redemption. It’s beauty from ashes.”

Elle is now almost four, and the Auds talk with her birth family several times a month and visit them in person once a year. To Kyle and Sara, open adoption means more people who love their daughter, and they have always been transparent with Elle about adoption.

“We’re proud of her story,” Sara said. “We have seen that with open adoption, we have an opportunity to make her a much more whole version of herself. And that is our goal with all of our babies!”

With the stress of infertility out of the way, the Auds became pregnant a few months after bringing Elle home. Holden is now two and a half, and their little brother Brooks is 11 months old. Another adoption could also be in the cards.

“I can’t see being done yet,” Sara said.

In fact, adoption became such a central part of Sara’s life that she now works for Faithful Adoption Consultants as the prospective client coordinator and an adoption consultant.

“I love getting to walk families through it all,” she said, “to see from the very beginning how their faith grows and changes.”

“They start out specific and guarded,” Kyle said, and then open up as they become more educated and learn to trust their consultant. All of Faithful Adoption Consultant’s employees are adoptive parents, so they understand the feelings and emotions of their clients.

“Getting to make the call to tell them they’re going to be a mom or dad is pretty amazing,” Sara said. “It’s a feeling that never gets old.”

The Auds’ journey has taught them to trust something greater than what their eyes can see. Ellington Claire Aud would agree.

November 10, 2018 | 3:04 am

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