Hamiter-- family + adoption journey {2019}

Tell us how you and Trace met and a little more about your family:

Cassie: "Trace and I met at Auburn University in a weight lifting class! We became fast friends before we started dating the next year. We were married two weeks after graduation and will celebrate 15 years of marriage in May! He is my greatest earthly gift, and I am humbled and grateful to be chosen and pursued by him every single day.”

Cassie: “We are the proud parents of five stellar children the Lord has very graciously entrusted us with. Micah and Judah both came to us through the miracle of adoption while Taylor, Gray and Cayden through miracle of biological birth. We could not imagine our lives any different. God is the master Creator, and the way he has created our family humbles me to the core daily.  We are so undeserving of His good gifts, but graciously accept them in the light of the Cross.

Taylor is 12, and our little right hand mama! She loves her brothers so well! Her gentle spirit, fierce love for justice and for all people of all walks of life, and desire to know more of Him is an inspiration to us daily. 

Gray is 9, and is extremely thoughtful and selfless. He loves all things sports, but his favorites are very intricately following college football and basketball! His love for others and desire to befriend the least of these flows out of him authentically.  

Micah is 8, and you can't help but to have a good time when he's around! He is the toughest kid I know-- full of grit and an extremely hard worker-- just like his daddy. Micah asks the best questions, loves one on one time and is super hard to catch him without a smile. His true JOY for life is so contagious.   

Cayden is 7, and is fearless, brave, a risk taker and up for any adventure you throw his way. He is a social butterfly and the way he includes people is humbling. Cayden is deeply loyal and a noticer of details and people. 

Judah is 2, and is the beloved baby of the family. We just came home with him from India two short months ago. He is extremely resilient and catches on to things so fast. He is SO snuggly and is smothered in love by all his siblings. He loves to eat all the time, and gives hugs and kisses any chance he gets. 

We also have another daughter, Avery, who we lost in 2008-- and is now dancing at the feet of Jesus.”

Did you have expectations of how many kids you would have before you got married?  

Cassie: "Trace and I always joke about this. He always says, 'She wanted four— I wanted two—so we compromised with four!' Now, we have added one more to make five :) and Trace would have 10 if we could."

When did adoption become a part of yall's story?  

Cassie: "I always had a deep desire to adopt. When we started talking about it, adoption wasn't something Trace had given much thought, but shortly after we prayed about it, he was all in.  We started the adoption process for Micah in 2012. We came home from China with him in November of 2013."

Tell us a little about your newest adoption:  

Cassie: "In 2015, we started our second adoption in Haiti. We invested a lot of heart, finances and time into Haiti, but the Lord closed that door in December of 2017. While it was heartbreaking and confusing to navigate, we were sure and confident that we didn't have it 'wrong' to enter into Haiti, and to stay there as long as we did, but that the Lord was taking us in a different direction and it just wasn't right anymore. We believe our hearts will always be connected to Haiti, and it was a joy and honor to get to petition the Father for the orphan population in Haiti, as well as the people and country itself. We followed His lead to India in January of 2018 and were matched with the most precious big brown eyed 14-month-old, we would later name Judah Austin. We traveled to pick him up and brought him home in February of 2019.”

Do you have any words of wisdom for those wanting to adopt?  

Cassie: "I know the process looks daunting, long, financially and emotionally strenuous from the beginning-- BUT I will tell you, at the end-- it's like a drop in the bucket because you have this precious life who has been miraculously entrusted to you and you can't imagine life without them. PRAY and TRUST. There are many unknowns, long waits, setbacks and unexpected turns for the better or worse— but we serve a sovereign God who doesn't change, and His faithfulness and provision is constant. He will sustain you and give you the grace you need, for every day, one day at a time. The whole process is a gift really. The Lord reveals His faithfulness and love to you and for you in a completely different way. Your heart is stretched in a million different directions, and you are daily reminded that we are created to need Jesus daily and be filled by Him alone."

Any advice for new parents to the adoption adventure? 

Cassie: "Be flexible and throw those expectations out the window! Your sweet baby-- no matter where they were born and how old they are-- has experienced trauma in their little life that most likely you or I have ever known. Trust, trust, trust in the One who loves your baby more than you could ever even fathom and knows every day of their life. ASK Him for that trust in Him if you lack it or lack the faith. He is so faithful-- so so faithful-- to meet you right where you are at and carry you. God is not a duplicator, so if this is not your first child, don't expect things to go the same way. Be flexible and give a little or a lot where you need to. Choose joy, choose thankfulness and choose patience. Ask for help! You are not weaker if you ask for help from your agency professionals, team of doctors and most of all your family and community. We are created to be interdependent, so don't forget you and your spouse were never meant to do this on your own! People want to love you and serve you, sometimes they just don't know how. I feel like I could go on and on about what the Lord has shown me and how He's refined me through parenthood-- and specifically through adoption-- but my last bit of advice would be to just remember grace. There will be some days when you can't remember how to function as a human, much less to be grateful or gracious, but take a moment, at least one moment, every day to remember to dish out the grace for yourself. I'm a strong believer in the grace that has been lavished on us through Jesus, and He so badly wants you to see that for yourself. So, in the good and bad, high and low-- there is always grace from the Giver of all good gifts and the One who never grows weary."