Hi! Thanks for visiting a fundraiser for Stephen and Emily Clausen. I'm Brooke Clausen, sister-in-law, of the sweet couple. If you've never met Stephen and Emily they embody true love and dedication. No matter what life throws at them they stand by one another. They speak truth to each other, give grace when needed, and laugh with and at each other often. They both work hard at jobs they are passionate about, lead small groups for men and women seeking to grow their relationship with Jesus, and embody generosity to all they meet. They would be such a blessing to a little life. I'm hoping this will help get them closer to their dream. Below you'll find more information about Stephen and Emily's journey so far, details about the adoption process, and ways you can help. Please consider donating to this great cause. Help this wonderful couple follow the Lord's leading and change another sweet souls future!
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Early on in our relationship (high school) we would say to each other, “One day, after we have had a few children of our own we will adopt.” Oh, the naïveté of teenagers!
Being teenagers, we didn’t realize two things, two things that we now know as adults are absolutely true. First, God was listening. He heard us makes this promise to each other. Second, God’s plan and time line do not always align with ours. These two things that we didn’t understand as teenagers, but now we know are learning to be true, epitomize our faith journey as adults. Below you will read through our journey of discovering these two lessons from God. Through that journey you will see why we have decided to adopt. A word of warning: this is a deeply personal story, but we hope that you see God’s love and faithfulness through out this process so far.
Stephen grew up in a loving home which modeled the gift of adoption. Both of his younger sisters were adopted in 1991. Both of Stephen’s best friend’s sisters were adopted as well. From a young age adoption was always on Stephen’s heart as he always knew this was something God wanted for him. Emily realized the beauty of adoption through mission trips to East Asia where she worked with a special needs orphanage. At this orphanage, Emily poured love and strength into these children. She experienced a sincere joy from loving these precious children that were not her own flesh and blood. Since those mission trips, Emily birthed a passion to adopt. What Stephen and Emily did not realize was that God was laying groundwork for them.
Emily and Stephen have been together since their sophomore year of high school in 2004. They were married shortly after college in 2011. A couple years into their marriage they realized something was not right when it came to getting pregnant. So, Emily decided to get fertility testing, and while she was undergoing testing the doctor suggested Stephen get tested also. There are two “parts” to being diagnosed with infertility. One, being given the preliminary diagnoses that there is in fact a problem. Second, diagnosing exactly what the problem is. It ended up both Stephen and Emily were told they have infertility issues. God used the fact that both Stephen and Emily were infertile as a blessing for them. Because they both were going through the same struggle, they were able to relate and grow closer together. Instead of blaming the other person or feeling guilty that they were the “infertile one” God allowed their bond to grow. Emily and Stephen spent the next 6 months in and out of the fertility clinic trying to figure out exactly what was going on and how to fix it. At the end of the 6 months the doctors figured out what was going on with Stephen, but Emily was diagnosed with “Unexplained Infertility”. Stephen and Emily were then faced with a choice: to pursue infertility treatments or not. They decided to wait until they had finished paying off their student loans and bought their first house. Being completely transparent, during this 6-12 month period of testing and stress, adoption was not even an option in their minds. They struggled to see past anything that didn’t relate to infertility. The idea of adoption was like a scarlet letter, as it was a reminder of their failure, But God remembered Stephen and Emily. He remembered what Stephen and Emily used to say to each other back in high school. Stephen and Emily had forgotten. They had forgotten the promise they made to each other, and had forgotten the adoption groundwork God had laid out for them over the past few years. God also knew something that Stephen and Emily didn’t. He knew they weren’t ready to be parents yet. Stephen and Emily still had to grow into a deeper faith individually and together.
When Stephen and Emily decided to focus on their student loans instead of the infertility, God gave them a sense of peace. He allowed them to focus on the tasks at hand and not be distracted by the infertility. Over the next few years God molded their faiths as they worked on paying off their student loans and saving up for a house. God allowed Stephen to go through the Leadership Development Group with North Point Ministries. This course taught him his strengths and wounds, and it taught him his first line of ministry should always be his family. Emily joined her first women’s small group which she would eventually lead. Through this small group Emily’s faith became her own.
Stephen and Emily had the idea in their heads that paying off their last student loan would be the happiest moment of their lives. When they made their last payment, they were in fact happy, but deep down a seed of fear began to creep up. Was this their fear of what happens next? What happens after they buy their house? Well, the next step would be kids which was scary and unresolved. Faithfully, God put people in Stephen and Emily’s lives who encouraged them to see a Christian counselor, to talk about infertility and adoption. Because of the recent growth in their faith, they were able to truly hear each other. God knew all along, that when they first found out they were infertile, the counseling wouldn’t have worked. God waited until the time was just right for Stephen and Emily to process the hurt of infertility and hope of adoption. He waited until Stephen’s and Emily’s faith itself were fertile enough, and they were surrounded by people who loved them and deeply knew them, to begin the journey of adoption. At the end of the counseling Stephen and Emily were able to connect the dots, look back on God’s time line for them, and see His hand in their lives all along.
Because of this and because of everything you just read, Stephen and Emily have decided to adopt! It’s not always easy. Satan tries his hardest to make them doubt God’s plan. Yet Stephen and Emily confidently know God wants them to adopt; God created them to adopt!
Stephen and Emily have found an organization to help bring Baby Clausen home. They chose Faithful Adoption Consultants to walk alongside as they follow God’s calling to adopt. Faithful Adoption Consultants is a faith-based referral services based out of Atlanta. They assist families nationwide who are seeking an infant though domestic adoption.
This is the breakdown of fees:
-Home Study: $1,000-2,000
-Adoption Budget: $38,000-40,000
-Additional Fees and Services: $7,000
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
First and for most Stephen and Em would appreciate prayers for this journey. This is a very emotional process, and each stage will bring different challenges....
Second, your financial contribution will help make this stressful process a little easier. I will be sending updates on their progress, and let donors know what their contriubutions have helped them achieve.
The smallest donation is a huge help! If it's 5 dollars or 5,000 dollars: your thoughtfulness and willingness to contribute to this process is so appreciated.
Thank you so much for supporting this amazing couple!
- The Wangs
- Pamela Johnson
- Sara Hirsch
- Skip and Bonnie Guilliams
Organizer and beneficiary
Brooke Flanagan Clausen
Stephen and Emily Clausen