The Connected Mom

Our guest has faced so many obstacles...but her stories of overcoming show the power of relying on God's strength. Becky and Sarah talk with Lori Vober, a stroke survivor (at age twenty-nine). She is a walking miracle and we guarantee that her journey of faith and perseverance will encourage you. 

Find Lori's Book:
Choices: When You Are Faced with a Challenge, What Choice Will You Make?
Life rarely turns out exactly as you pictured it, and we all face challenges along the way. God always has a plan. But He leaves it up to you whether you follow His plan or not. Life is about choices.

I have chosen to depend on God's faithfulness through all our challenges.
  • Everyone has doubts about their own abilities, but God has a plan for each of us. So believe in Him, and don't give up.
  • Sometimes your attitude, drive, and enthusiasm can take you further than your talents or abilities. Attitude can make all the difference.
  • Find your happiness in whom God says you are. Don't let someone else define your happiness.
Connect with Lori:

Creators & Guests

Becky Harling
Author of How to Listen So Your Kids Will talk and several others. Podcast host of The Connected Mom. A dynamic speaker who is passionate about Jesus.
Lori Vober

What is The Connected Mom?

Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.

Becky Harling (00:02.527)
Welcome to the Connected Mom Podcast where we have real conversations to help you connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms and more intentionally with your child. I'm Becky Harling, your host, and I have with me today the amazing Sarah Wildman, my co-host. Hey Sarah.

Sarah Wildman (00:29.07)
Hello, Becky. So good to be with you. We all have parenting in common, so that's why we're here. We're just going to say that. And, you know, some of us though deal with more emergencies. And my goodness, parenting is hard enough without those emergencies or health issues or crisis events. And man, they can just hit you and make you want to quit, right, Becky? I mean, some of those crisis just knock you off your feet.

Becky Harling (00:35.824)

Becky Harling (00:54.931)
Yeah, they, yes, they do. And you know, our guest today has been called an overcomer. And I, I love that. That's what made me invite her to be our guest because, Hey mamas, we need people who have overcome, don't we? We need people who can give us really a vision of what hope looks like. And that's our guest today. She's going to share some of that with us. And in addition to facing those crises and being an over-the-counter, she has adopted three children from their international adoption, I believe. And she's written a book called Choices. And today I really want to encourage you that our mamas, particularly those who are that have faced health challenges or those of you that have adopted, I wanna encourage you to lean in and listen because my prayer today for you is that God is going to give you hope and the encouragement you need to keep going because parenting is a long journey. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. And yet God is with us in the marathon. So welcome, Lori Vober.

Lori Vober (03:33.926)
Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here and thank you so much for having me on your show today.

Becky Harling (03:40.887)
So hey, Lori, let's start at the beginning. Could you tell us your story and a little bit about the physical health challenges you've experienced?

Lori Vober (03:50.362)
Absolutely. So back in 2003, January of 2003, my husband and I were living in Minnesota and we were just shy of our fifth year wedding anniversary. And we were trying to start our own family biologically. I was working at the airline industry at the time. My background is marketing and sales and we weren't being very successful starting our family. I thought it was stress oriented. And so I chose to

changed my career to our church. Thought I just needed to slow our life down a little bit. And many times, we don't know our real plans, but God always does. And three weeks into that new career change, I had a massive hemorrhatic stroke. And I often look back on that journey and think, my plans were to slow my life down, change my career path to start our family.

Becky Harling (04:35.057)

Lori Vober (04:45.406)
And literally, I believe God's plan was to save my life with that career change. Because I did a lot of flying in my career. Previously, I was in the air a lot. And so who knows what would have happened if I had not been at the church at the time. But thankfully, I'm still here. But I had a massive stroke. I was in a 17-day drug-induced coma, and it was caused by an undetected brain bleed.

And I really, it taught my husband and I a lot, things change in the blink of an eye and literally our whole life changed. Woke up from a 17 day drug induced coma, paralyzed on the left side and had to really start life all over again, learning to sit up and balance and talk and speak and walk. And I was two months in the hospital and I came home in a wheelchair. And so,

our whole idea of starting a family just totally changed. And so.

Becky Harling (05:50.171)
So Lori, can I ask you how old were you when all this happened? Wow.

Sarah Wildman (05:53.774)

Lori Vober (05:54.722)
Absolutely, I was 29. So, you know, it brings me to where I am today. I'm very proactive, for those that are on social media with me, of promoting stroke awareness because I was not aware at all of the signs of stroke. And I almost waited too late to get help. I really thought I just pulled a muscle. I didn't feel well that day, but I did have all the signs of a stroke. I had a bad headache, I felt sick to my stomach.

my left arm felt numb, and it wasn't until my left leg felt numb and gave way that the warning bells went off. And it was literally within the hour of all that happening and calling 911 that I was completely unconscious. So, I mean, I just went just like that. And so I have a strong faith. I'm very grateful for that. But I give all the glory to God that I'm here today and He gave me the crates to not only survive but thrive.

in the new normal that I find myself in. But that really was the start of a new journey for both my husband and myself and my parents. I'm an only child and really it took us all by surprise, but took us all on a new journey. So that was really the start of every, our new life.

Becky Harling (07:12.251)

Sarah Wildman (07:12.699)
Wow. Lori, I know that strokes can affect everyone very personally. So what were some of the challenges that were really unique to your recovery?

Lori Vober (07:24.326)
I think a lot of, I appreciate you asking, everybody is very different. And one of the things I didn't recognize is the need for support and the need for counseling and the need to just process the grief. I'm very perseverance driven, very positive attitude driven. And so I just thought that if I just exercise through this and I just work really hard, I'm gonna get through this disability, I'm gonna recover and I'm gonna get everything back.

Sarah Wildman (07:29.857)

Lori Vober (07:54.046)
And that truly is just not reality. I'm 21 years into the stroke now, almost 21 years. And if you saw me today, you'd see I do still have a disability. I live a wonderful life. I'm very independent for where I am, but that's just not reality to be completely recovered. But to have a strong support system is so important. And grief comes upon you unexpectedly.

and it still does need today. And so to have that support system in place, that's not just your family. Because your family, although they love and care about you, it's often very close to you, and they don't understand always what you're going through. And many times you get to a point where you just want the same relationship with your loved ones as you always had. You don't want that caregiving relationship with them forever.

So it's important to separate that over time. And so I often found that it was important in my journey to find people that could support me. So if there's others out there listening to this podcast that has gone through medical challenges, I encourage you to find others that have gone through medical challenges that are similar to yours. And don't be ashamed in that. I learned very quickly.

that vulnerability and it took years and years for me to learn that but vulnerability is very important and I Didn't realize how important that was. I tried to hide a lot of my My disabilities all the things I was going through so that I could fit back in with my peer group And I thought if I was vulnerable with others, I wouldn't fit in and you know when you go through a massive stroke a huge

medical condition, automatically, you know, you're just going to stand out. It just the way it is. And some things you just can't change. But not being vulnerable really takes away your chance of being supported. It takes away the chance for people to bless you. And it really just takes away a lot of other opportunities. And I learned that the hard way. So I encourage others to.

Lori Vober (10:17.254)
Get the support they need and be vulnerable with others because you never know who might come out of the woodwork when you do that

Sarah Wildman (10:23.382)

Becky Harling (10:23.439)
Yeah, I love that you brought that up because one of the things that we talk about here on The Connected Mom is the whole idea of connecting more empathically with your fellow moms. However, you can't really have those deep connections without the element of vulnerability, can you Lori?

Lori Vober (10:43.822)
No, absolutely not. And that vulnerability is so important, whether it's a medical challenge, whether it's a parenting journey, no matter what we're going through. And we all desire the same thing, don't we? Communication, support, connection, no matter what we're going through, we all desire that same thing, I think.

Becky Harling (11:06.808)
So how did you discover the people you could be vulnerable with?

Lori Vober (11:12.962)
I tell you honestly, if we fast forward many, many years, I didn't realize until 2022, I was pre-diagnosed of varian cancer through just a random doctor's visit and cancer-free thankfully. But yes, yes. But I had a full hysterectomy. And with that...

Becky Harling (11:27.917)
Oh wow.

Becky Harling (11:35.303)
Praise God.

Lori Vober (11:41.154)
We did determine that I was not able to ever have children. So our ability to not biologically start our family way back in 2003 was not just me being stressed and being busy at work like I thought it was. I really was never going to be able to conceive. So God's plan for adoption, which we adopted, was always going to be the plan.

I just didn't know it until years and years later. But when I had that, I started volunteering at the cancer center after I recovered from my hysterectomy. And some of those cancer-fighting friends are some of my very dearest friends now. And that is when it changed my whole world because I realized whether we are going through a stroke or a cancer journey, no matter what.

We just need to find that support system. And so finding those dear friends and volunteering at the Cancer Center really changed my whole perspective. And that was when I first realized how important it was to get a support system of friends that really understood medical challenges and were on a similar journey that I was on. And that no matter what, it just put a different perspective in place for me.

Where I was with my peers and helped me realize that you have to run your own race You know, we're all and I think social media makes it so hard sometimes, but you really do have to just run your own race

Sarah Wildman (13:21.262)
So true. So, oh my goodness, I mean, I'm sure there was grief as you have the hysterectomy and you realize, okay, this won't be part of our story to have kids naturally, but you mentioned that you felt led to adopt. So would you mind sharing a little bit more about what led you guys to that decision and how that process went initially?

Lori Vober (13:41.966)
Absolutely, absolutely. So I'll back up again. I know I'm kind of jumping all over with you guys, but I do have lots of layers, but in 2010, which was seven years post stroke, my husband and I decided we really were ready to consider starting our family again. And at that point we really didn't know that I was not able to have kids. So

Becky Harling (13:47.112)
No, you're great. Yeah.

Sarah Wildman (13:48.024)
Quite a story, my goodness.

Sarah Wildman (14:06.424)

Lori Vober (14:09.598)
I, we just did made the decision that because of my disability and at that point I was having seizures from the stroke. So part of the stroke for me was epilepsy. And so we decided with the medicine, the seizures and the disability, it was just too risky for us to try and start a family. And so we chose adoption and we had always been very, uh, add a big advocates of the organization.

Compassion International. We had always been supportive of four children. So that's what really spurred us into the international adoption versus domestic adoption. And we just felt real strongly towards the Latino community because of where we live in Arizona. And at the time, my dad, we're very close to my parents. I'm an only child. And my dad worked very closely with the Latino community in his job. And so all those things brought us to Columbia.

as our choice for adoption. And my husband and I both are only children. So we always knew when we had a family, we wanted a bigger family. And grass is always greener on the other side. So we grew up our whole life thinking we were lonely being only children and how wonderful it would be to have siblings. So when we adopted, we decided we wanted to adopt a sibling group. We had no idea what siblings were like until we adopted siblings.

Becky Harling (15:38.16)
I love that.

Lori Vober (15:38.502)
And then we thought they were like seriously, this is what siblings are This is how you treat each other and this is how you act So I just I just we just joke now. I think I think we really had the best of our own world when we were only children, but You know, we're we followed God's plan and he said adopt siblings So that's what we did, but when we adopted our children, they were six eight and ten

We adopted a boy and two girls. And actually at the very beginning of our adoption, we wanted to adopt boys. I was a boy mom through and through. I love sports. I am, I know drama. I cannot do drama. I don't do dolls. And so I said to God, I was very clear. If we are going to do this, and I learned very quickly, you don't tell God what to do. And it just struggles, right?

Sarah Wildman (16:07.825)
Oh, wow.

Sarah Wildman (16:35.51)

Lori Vober (16:36.946)
I said, I don't do girls and I don't do drama, so I would like to adopt boys, please, and we would like older boys. And he said, great, that sounds wonderful, but that's not how this works. And so we did pick out two older boys, and unfortunately, that adoption fell through after we had started that process. And so we received a referral for...

our three and I got in his infinite wisdom gave me two girls and a boy and so I guess he felt that I still needed girls in my life and so my son was my youngest he was six and then my girls were eight and ten and it was a journey of I say both blessings and challenges from the very beginning it was a huge journey of blessings and challenges when we first got the call

We fell in love with the pictures from day one and then we found out there weren't three there were five children and Columbia broke them up and said you can only have three But there are five of them so it was just it was a crazy journey from the beginning, but as soon as we got back to the United States, and we adopted everybody adopted we got the kids back together the

Sarah Wildman (17:44.91)
Thanks for watching!

Becky Harling (17:45.335)
Oh wow.

Lori Vober (17:58.022)
brother and sister were in another state in the United States. And so they actually did have contact with them. And the kids were together every Christmas and every summer. From the time they were back in the States, we made sure as families that we kept the kids together. And so, you know, it was just, I have to say it was from the very beginning just...

Becky Harling (18:08.623)

Sarah Wildman (18:10.327)

Lori Vober (18:23.722)
you know, whether you're a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or however you choose to parent, your plans never turn out the way you think they're going to. We were supposed to be in Columbia for six to eight weeks, and we were there for over 16 weeks. We got a very slow judge, but God gives you what you need to get through every difficult situation, and he did that through

everything. You know, we went through so many hurdles from the very beginning. And I'm because I'm, we're on the outskirts now. We are empty nesters. We've gone full circle. Our kids are now 19, 21 and 24. They're all on their own. They've all graduated high school. A couple of them have graduated tech school. I'm a grandma of three now. So

Sarah Wildman (19:19.17)

Lori Vober (19:20.558)
You know, God is so good. He not only gave me the chance to be mom He's given me the chance to be grandma and I just would like to encourage the those listeners out there and those moms that You know you those of you that are in the trenches hang in there You know, it is a short time that you are in these trenches, you know and God gives you What you need? Every single day. So take a deep breath hang in there and know that

you are not the only answer for your children. You were given these children for a short time and ultimately we have to remember our children are God's children and we are supposed to be equipped as moms to train our kids to our very best ability and then give them back to him. And that's what I've learned most of all as my kids are now adults.

is I did the very best I could, bringing my kids into my home that weren't really my children and raising them to my very best ability with the abandonment and trauma and what they brought into my home and then giving them back into the world, still loving them and supporting them and nurturing them now as adults and really that's all I think we can expect of ourselves as moms and

and then just continue to pray for him.

Becky Harling (20:49.82)
Yeah, I am glad you brought up the abandonment issues and the trauma issues, because that is all a part of adoption. And how did you manage those issues with your own health issues? And I mean, it's a lot, right? Anybody that's adopted.

Sarah Wildman (21:00.098)

Becky Harling (21:12.603)
children will tell you most of the time it's a lot, right? Because there are abandonment issues and trauma issues, especially when you adopt older children, like six, eight, and 10. So what did you learn through that process and how did God sustain you, Lori?

Sarah Wildman (21:23.95)

Lori Vober (21:30.25)
Oh boy, that's a huge one, Becky. I learned honestly that from the very beginning we should have done more counseling. I should have made counseling a must. I didn't start from the very beginning with our kids the day they got home and enforced counseling. And if I could go back, I would have, and I would have enforced family counseling.

Sarah Wildman (21:40.43)

Lori Vober (21:58.19)
Because I would have gotten more support for my kids I would have gotten some more support for myself and I would have gotten more support for us as a family unit Because there were so many things that I couldn't tackle on my own And I tried to depend on other people to help me and there's so few people kind of like with medical challenges There's many people that want to try and help you friends and loved ones, but they just don't understand

And so you really need professional help to help you. And when you have older children, so many of those older children are so hurt and so scared to open up that they refuse to. And it's just hard. And so you just have to do the very best you can and just realize that you can only do.

Becky Harling (22:28.643)

Lori Vober (22:56.299)
You only can do what you can do, but I do wish I had enforced it from the very beginning

Becky Harling (23:02.923)
I love that you brought up counseling because I think sometimes in Christian evangelical church settings, we have kind of discouraged that, you know, people have talked about.

psycho mumbo jumbo and all this kind of stuff. But in the adoption journey, you really need to bring in those counselors. And a lot of times I don't think people really understand the services that are available to them in their adoption journey. And there are services that can help you navigate those, um, those new normals for your family. So I love that you brought that out, Lori. Thank you for, for doing that.

Lori Vober (23:45.546)
And I think you have to get to a point where you just can't beat yourself up You have to realize you're doing the very best you can and at a certain point You know you are human and you're making the best choice you can I remember there were days that I When you when you're battling? You know teenage especially teenagers and what they want and you're trying to make the best decisions

It's hard and so at a certain point you just have to give yourself a break but I do want to encourage you to remember God first, your spouse second, and your kids third. And remember there's going to come a time that you will be empty nesters. You will go full circle and you're going to be left just with you and your spouse. So don't forget in the stress of everything that's going on that spouse because at the end of the day...

When those kids leave, he's going to be the one that's left standing there beside you. And you don't want, when those kids leave, not to know who that spouse is. You want to be so excited for that relationship. And I think so many times we put all our energy into our kids, especially when we have challenging children. We forget about the needs of our spouse. And so...

Sarah Wildman (24:52.331)

Lori Vober (25:10.902)
You know, we have to remember it's just a short time that our children are home and then they're off to their own world as it should be. They should be flourishing in their own world and we should be flourishing back in our world.

Sarah Wildman (25:11.362)
So true.

Sarah Wildman (25:26.086)
I know that stats are a little brutal when it comes to marriage though, Laurie, like you're talking about. I think moms especially, I have some that I can think of friends who are in intense situations with their little ones, right? And then it's like, yeah, I mean, they're just kind of holding on with the marriage and hoping things get better, right? And I kind of hear from you that you had to maybe make...

it intentional, right? Even because the hard was just going to continue. Is that a fair way to say it?

Lori Vober (25:55.378)

Lori Vober (25:59.579)
Absolutely. I mean the hearts the hearts just hard and yeah, I hate to be the bearer of bad news But the heart is gonna continue. It's not it's not gonna get necessarily easier But you have to be intentional about date nights. You have to make your anniversary Important. I mean we always went away for anniversary every year even after my stroke We always went away for anniversary and the kids tried to separate us. I mean, especially the girls. I remember they would

jump right in between us and they had to realize, you know, that it was the two of us, but I look back now and you have to look at it and especially if you have, you know, you have to look at it from the standpoint of if you have girls, what do you want your girls to take away when they're women and they, they're get married. And if you have

boys, what do you want them to be when they grew up? And how do you want them to treat their wives? And I look at it now from a standpoint of what my kids say to me and what they gleaned from when my husband and I would argue and what they picked up on. And some of this ouch, you know, when they'll say things to me now. And I'm like, really? That's what you remember? And so...

So, you know, kids pick up on the strangest things. So you do have to remember, you know, not only the here and now, but the future of what they're going to take away and what they're going to take into their future relationships and what do you want, what you're grooming your kids for their future at the same time.

Becky Harling (27:45.431)
You know, I love that you brought out the priority of marriage because the statistics for couples who have adopted or couples that have, say, special needs children, the statistics for divorce are higher for those couples. And I think the temptation is to think our kids need us so much we can't get away. And I agree with you, date night is vital.

kids, we would do one date a week. And we've had couples tell us, well, we can't afford that. And Steve and I always said, well, we can't afford to not do that. And we were pretty poor. We were in ministry and we didn't have adopted children. Now, one of our kids...

Lori Vober (28:25.862)
Right, right.

Sarah Wildman (28:26.182)
Thank you.

Becky Harling (28:34.403)
they do have an adopted child. And she just said to me recently, you know, we need to get away for our anniversary. So Steve and I as grandparents will be with her boys while they're gone, you know, because they need that we want to encourage our kids like you've got to keep your marriage strong and healthy through the parenting journey. So thank you for bringing that up.

Lori Vober (28:45.259)
Whoa, wonderful. That's great.

Becky Harling (29:05.358)
You're an ovarian cancer survivor. You've adopted children. I mean, wow, what a story. What are the specific verses you can think of that really have encouraged you along the way?

Lori Vober (29:18.05)
Oh my goodness, there are quite a few, you know, Jeremiah 29, 11 through 13 is one I used in my book and it's used a lot, I know, and sometimes it's used inappropriately, but I do love it if you read the whole thing and you read all the way from 11 through 13. Would you like me to read the whole verse for you? Okay, so it says,

Becky Harling (29:40.183)
Yes, please. Thank you.

Lori Vober (29:43.026)
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord's plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart." And I love the last part because really so many people talk about the first part, for I know the plans I have for you and that's so popular. But people forget about the last part.

finding him when you seek him and you really have to seek him and that's part of our prayer journey and our are really listening to him and I think as busy moms so many times we forget about that we forget to make time to listen to God seek him and to teach our kids that you know so many times when we don't seek God and we don't make that a priority we have to remember we're not teaching our kids about that

and we can go to church and we can go to Bible study and do the weekly things, but if we're not modeling on a daily basis, the kids pick that up. The other thing I really love is, and it's one of my verses, is 1 Thessalonians 5, 16 through 18. And this is

Part of my Word of the Year this year was gratitude. And it says, rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. And just helps me remember that, you know, life rarely turns out like we really want it to and plan on it. But if we will remember that heart of gratitude, it helps us with the perspective that your plans might not always turn out exactly how you want them to.

And challenges are going to hit every single one of us, but we don't have to get stuck when we hit those challenges because we always have a choice and we have a choice in how we react to our circumstances. So when your kids push your buttons and when things go wrong, just remember you always have a choice and you always have. That's why I love how God truly gave me the title of my first book called Choices. When you're faced with the challenge, what choice will you make?

Becky Harling (32:03.399)

Sarah Wildman (32:03.792)

Lori Vober (32:05.402)
because really I think so many people get stuck and then they just keep going down farther and farther, whether it's in parenting or their medical challenges or whatever it is, they just have such a hard time because they think they don't have a choice, but we truly always have a choice in our reaction to what we're going through.

Becky Harling (32:28.519)
That is actually a really good place to end this podcast, Laurie, because you have really given our mamas hope and I am very grateful for that. So before I close in prayer, where can our moms get your book choices?

Lori Vober (32:47.582)
Yes, all my information is on my website. That's probably the best place because I have resources on there, adoption resources, stroke resources, and more of my story, as well as I will have some new blogs that I'm going to be starting. So that's So it's just my name. So I really encourage them to head to my website and check that out.

Becky Harling (33:16.235)
Okay, we will have all of that information in the show notes. And I just want to close us in prayer and moms, I hope you were encouraged today because wow, Lori has come out from all of this, you know, stroke, ovarian cancer, adoptive journey, and she's come out with strong faith and hope and with a heart of gratitude because God is good. And if she can do it, you can do it. So let me close in prayer.

her story. Thank you for the miracles you've worked in her life. And Lord, I want to pray for continued health for Lori. I pray that she would not be challenged with any of these challenges like cancer or any other part of this as she continues in her parenting journey, in her grandparenting journey. We pray that you would bless her with good health.

But we thank you for the way you've brought her through these challenges. And we pray Lord Jesus for every mom out there listening today, that she would remember that with every crisis, she has a choice of where to turn in Jesus name. Amen. Hey friends, thank you so much for joining us today on the Connected Mom podcast, and we hope that you're going to join us again next week where we'll have another conversation that's going to help you connect more.

Lori Vober (34:26.31)

Becky Harling (34:38.939)
deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. Thanks for joining us.