Where you go, I will go

It is surreal to think that it has been 3 years since Kristen and I started the adoption process, and that now the wait is over. We welcomed Ruth into the world on April 14th, 2018.

Ruth is named after one of her great-grandmothers, as well as her namesake in the Old Testament. Ruth was outside of the covenant family of God. But she was brought in by faith through grace. Still grieving, she looked at Naomi and made her faith known: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) The legal bond of adoption is a beautiful necessity in a broken world. But it’s power and beauty don’t hold a candle to God’s covenant promises. More than anything, this is our hope for our daughter Ruth – to know our unwavering promise to her as a faint picture of God’s unwavering promise.

Her 1st middle name is Eden. ““Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” (Isaiah 51:1–3) This passage references all 3 middle names of our children: Alex Joy, Jackson Isaac (son of Abraham and Sarah), and now Ruth Eden. When we think of Eden, we remember what was lost, but look forward even more to what will be regained.

Her 2nd middle name is Rose. This is the name given to Ruth by her beautiful and brave birth mother. We can’t wait to tell Ruth about the profound love that her First Mom has for her, loving her to the point that she chose adoption for her.

And finally, her last name is Owens! “Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name” (The Avett Brothers)


There are so many people to thank for helping bring Ruth home.

First, my beautiful wife. She works hard as an Occupational Therapist during the day, and would often come home and work long into the night, taking and editing photos to raise funds for our dream of adoption. She worked her tail off – pushing paperwork, setting appointments, meeting deadlines – all while loving and caring for our family. We scrimped and saved, and were able to personally save most of our adoption costs. She is Super Woman!

Our families: twice now, my mom has flown down to Florida to be with us in the waiting – helping with kids and logistics. Kristen’s parents dropped everything to watch our kids, bringing our older two kids to meet us here so we can be together as a family.

Our supporters: we could not have done it without you! Starting in 2015, you came along side us to plan a garage sale, and many of you gave out of your own pocket to help cover adoption costs. Our Growth Group covered travel expenses for our heartbreaking failed adoption last year. One young couple (just getting started in their careers) booked us a place to stay in Florida while we wait on the paperwork to finalize! Another 20-something bride-to-be gave generously while she was planning her own wedding! Help has come from the most unexpected places (which is absolutely in line with how God typically provides, isn’t it?)

Thankfully, we did not lose any of the funds we saved and raised over the past 3 years. However, additional birthmother expenses and home study fees over the past few years are not covered by what we have now.

You can make a tax deductible donation through Little Blessings Foster and Adoptive Family Support (check them out at https://www.littleblessingsadoptionsupport.org). When you are given an option to include special instructions, please mention “Grant – Owens Adoption.” Below is a PayPal link for donations (let me know if you’d like to give another way):


Lord willing, we will be able to come back home soon! Thanks for the prayers, texts, and phone calls. We’re praising God that Ruth has already been welcomed into a great big loving family/village!View More: http://kristenowensphotography.pass.us/ruthedenrose

Waiting on our World to Change

A few nights ago, Kristen and I found ourselves in a movie theatre watching a film called Collateral Beauty. In Tampa, FL (more on that later).

We had read no reviews, and honestly – we were simply too tired to watch all 2 and 1/2 hours of “Fences.”

Kate Winslet’s character is a driven, single woman who worries that motherhood has passed her by. But the fool of the story speaks to her in one scene, reminding her that children don’t come from you, they come through you.


This adoption process has continually reminded us that this is undoubtably true. We need the reminder when we grow anxious about having 3 kids, 4 and under.  We need this reminder when we think about the grief and loss that accompany every adoption – the loss that our child will experience when he wonders about his birth parents, and the grief that his birth parents feel when they think about our child. We need this reminder when we face the cost of adoption – emotionally, psychologically, and financially.

And so, an update.

  • January 2014 – We began the adoption process after difficulty having a second child. With your support, we worked (photography), saved, raised, and prayed.
  • Fall 2015 – God had other plans. We were pregnant.
  • Spring 2016 – God surprised us with a son of laughter: Jackson Isaac Owens.


December 2016 – we were contacted by a friend at church. One of their friends had notified them that adoptive families were needed ASAP for a birth mother in Florida, and she wanted to know if we were interested.

This was not through our agency. All of our hard work to apply, update, and scramble to send in information – unnecessary. God had found another way, and He had used the body of Christ to make a way.

The answer was yes.

In no time, we sent in our home study and profile book, and got on the phone with another family (across the country) who had adopted through this agency. Long story short: there was a risk that the funds we had raised online would be tied up in red tape, and we let this family know that it may not work out. But then, we were shocked to hear “No worries – we’ve got you. We run an organization that helps facilitate adoptions. I’ll take care of it. Your friend at church is one of my board members.”

I have a feeling our neighbors heard the sound of our jaws hitting the floor.

There is so much more we could say. We never thought this birth mother would choose us, for many reasons. But she did.

We are now in Tampa, FL waiting on the birth of our son. The Body of Christ has shown up in countless ways to make this possible: from places to stay, to family dropping everything to come help us with the travel and the kids, traveling expenses covered by our Growth Group, to our own grandmother sending us to Disney World while we wait (dream come true for our oldest daughter, Alex. We didn’t know how we could take her, and here we were, an hour away, with the best Christmas present ever).

We are thankful to be able to be settled at a home away from home in the waiting. And the biggest blessing was being able to meet in person with his birth mother on Wednesday. So many of you prayed for this day and God answered those prayers. He relieved all of our anxieties, and allowed words of love and questions to flow freely. We love her and are thankful for the sacrificial love she has chosen and the gift she has given us. But we are in sorrow with her as she prepares to say goodbye to her baby – something that as parents, we cannot even imagine.

Please pray:

  • Pray for our son’s birthmother. For her heart in the pain of loss and for God’s provision and sustaining grace in her upcoming days and in her life.
  • Pray that she would go into labor soon (she is past her due date and is very, very ready to deliver!)
  • Pray for the delivery – doctors, nurses, midwives, nervous parents.
  • Pray for our new son as he waits in his mother’s womb and as he enters our arms
  • Pray for his siblings, as their world will be changing.
  • Pray for his parents, as their world will be changing.
  • Pray that the process would go smoothly, and that we can come home soon. (paperwork between Florida and Mississippi must clear before we can travel out of state).
  • Pray for our hearts in the uncertainty. This is still her choice to make in the upcoming days and hours.


Thank you for your love and support.

– zack, kristen, alex, and jackson


Growing from 1 to 3




From Zack:

“Big Sister TIMES TWO???”

YES! Let me catch you up to speed.

We started the adoption process in January 2015 after much prayer, waiting, and many tears. We had seemingly hit a brick wall in trying to have another biological child, and were shown that maybe our dream of adoption shouldn’t wait for the distant future. The Lord lifted our eyes and changed our direction!

Since July 2015, we have been waiting for a call from multiple agencies, all facilitated by Christian Adoption Consultants. Prayers for our baby have been lifted up by Kristen, Alex, myself, and a remarkable community of family, friends, and financial supporters. So many people have helped us in the process of bringing our baby home and we are forever grateful.

But every time we talked with our daughter about the adoption, she corrected us. We would say “Are you excited about meeting baby sister OR baby brother?” And Alex would inevitably correct us and respond, “Baby sister AND baby brother.”

Kristen and I would smile, encourage her, and then try to explain that it would most likely be just one baby coming home.

Turns out, our little keenly observant – and often bizarrely intuitive – prophetess was on to something.

THAT’S RIGHT, we’re totally pregnant and totally adopting – TWO babies!

I’ll never forget getting the text from Kristen that simply read, “Can you come home early?” This was not an abnormal request. Maybe she needed to run to the store? Maybe Alex had gone full “Beast mode” and she was simply calling in reinforcements? Maybe she had seen an episode of “Fixer Upper” that was a particularly poignant analogy for our relationship? There was no way to tell. So I tried my best to finish up everything at work and made it home in about 30 minutes.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw her at the threshold. She was simultaneously mournful and terrified. “Oh no, what’s wrong?” She fought through tears to form the words.

“We’re pregnant!”

Shocked (and, let’s be honest, pretty bad with social cues), I said “…THEN WHY ARE YOU CRYING???”

My insensitivity reflected much of what my dear wife has felt for the past year and a half. She had longed for another biological child, yet had given that dream over to God and begun to pray differently. Now, we were ready for our child to come through adoption. And so the day we found out that we were pregnant was, for a moment, a day of mourning. Kristen wasn’t mourning over the fact that we were going to welcome a child into our home. She was mourning because she thought that meant saying goodbye to the child whom God had chosen for us through adoption.

Looking back, I understand. But in the moment, I didn’t exactly provide the listening ear and shoulder to cry on. I said, “BABE, why can’t we still adopt?”

And so we are. We are 6 months waiting and 4.5 months pregnant.


From Kristen…

The only words I have is that we are forever thankful for these two little ones entrusted to us! And forever thankful for your support for our growing family – through your prayers, your gifts, and your encouragement.

Zack is right, I needed some time to process everything over the past few months – a rollercoaster of a ride that brought me to my knees and my control to a hault. But once I did, what a picture I was able to see- TWO children individually longed for and prayed for so long! Two that the Lord knew would come into our lives in two unique ways. Two unique stories but both pointing to His faithfulness and His mercy through adopting us into His family.

To say it lightly, we are OVERJOYED!

As we have shared with friends and family, we have had a lot of questions come up. Here are the answers to a few:

  1. Are you still adopting?  I think that’s already been answered but to add more clarity, the answer is a big YES! Adoption is a call – one that we knew we had from an early stage of our marriage. And oh how I am thankful that the Lord orchestrated the timing to begin it when we did- to reach the specific child He has planned for our family. He is now just growing us in an additional way! Owens Baby #1 through my belly, Owens Baby #2 through adoption.
  2. Does this affect the adoption plans? Yes and No. We see even more how the Lord has directed us with the answers to this question. Many adoption agencies require a long wait. But CAC so graciously has no limitations to the growth on a family! So it’s up to us – and yes, we can’t wait to have two children close in age! The affect that it may have is on a birthmother choosing our family – it could lengthen the process. We have updated our profiles and agency information but are still waiting for a birthmother to choose our family for her child. That timing is uncertain so we are still in the waiting stages for the “Call”.
  3. When are you due? April 13th, 2016, is the tentative date for bringing home sweet Owens baby #1!   Who is, by the way…. A baby BOY!!
  4. Which baby will come first? This is a harder question. Initially, our hopes were that our adopted baby would come by the end of 2015 but the further we are getting in the pregnancy, we have realized the reality that our biological baby may be here first. But as you know, this journey is a rollercoaster ride, SO who knows!! We are up for either and preparing a nursery for twins! J

He is writing His Story:

My crying anthem is that…the Lord is faithful, even in my unfaithfulness!

For so long I prayed for our family to continue to grow. For Alex to have a sibling and to hold another infant in my arms.  We prayed and prayed and heard no response. I remember reading the reminders of Scripture and weeping over them at times, lacking in my faithfulness, and trying to remember the faithfulness of the Lord to Abraham and Sara, to generations of His people. Through this time, He brought me to my knees. He directed our steps – not toward my plan but towards Himself.  I lost my control – something that I had no idea was blinding me for so long. Oh how I can see it now – what I couldn’t see in the beginning.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” -C.S. Lewis

He is our answer. So for all the women who are waiting, those we grieved with, those who have lost, I have felt in my soul parts of your pain. And I know that our story is a reminder in some ways of that pain. But I also pray that it is a story of God’s faithfulness – a reminder that He is our answer. A reminder that He loves His children.

Thank you for sharing in this story with us! We can’t wait to continue to watch it unfold – both the hard times and the sweet times ahead.