ADOPTION STORY: ETHAN AND DANIELLE
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
A few weeks ago, I sat on my sofa with Danielle and her husband Ethan. Their precious baby girl in their arms and in the background you could hear our girls giggling while they played dress up together. A few months earlier, we were all strangers. Now friends breaking bread around my kitchen table and swooning over their precious baby girl. Adoption brought our families together, and it was genuinely such a pleasure to work with them. As the months passed, I would grow to love their resilient, optimistic spirits and open hearts for whatever God had planned for them. It was such a treat me meet them in person when their daughter was born at a hospital nearby.
God had a beautiful redemption story He was writing for their family. Danielle shares all the details below…
I saw a friend of mine go through her adoption journey during the first year of my struggle with secondary infertility. Something in my heart leapt every single time I saw her post on social media or listened to her talk openly about her story. I tucked that feeling away and trudged on through our secondary infertility journey.
My husband and I conceived our now four year old daughter after our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We wrote the miscarriage off as a fluke and didn’t consider once that this could have been an indication of any fertility issues. I carried our daughter to a whopping 42 weeks without one issue and our hearts were so full of joy. It was when she was about a year old my husband and I considered the possibility of adding a second child to our family. We thought surely we would become pregnant instantly as we had with our first two pregnancies. The first month, I did not get the positive test I had hoped for. I was so upset. Did I do something wrong? Maybe I just had my dates off. Surely next month. After 3, 6, 9, even 12 months went by, I knew something was wrong. My doctor was hesitant to diagnose my then 23 year old self with any kind of fertility problem and told us to keep trying. By the time we had tried nearly 18 months, my heart was broken. I walked around feeling like a shell of who I really was. My heart ached so desperately for another child. Didn’t God see me? Didn’t He know the desire of my heart? I often shook my fist at him thinking I knew best and was angered that my plan didn’t seem to be His plan.
After becoming home study approved, we had so many emotions knowing a situation could come at any time. We got one the day after signing on and I remember thinking “THIS IS IT!” I got my hopes up way too high and that first “no” was crushing. Leah provided such kind and gentle support during this time and reminded us about guarding our hearts in this process and how this would all make sense when our baby was in our arms. It was her understanding and compassion that made those “no’s” so much easier. Over those next few months, we saw tons of situations – sometimes even 2-3 a week. We kept thinking something would happen quickly. However, after hearing dozens of “no’s” we became a little discouraged by the end of summer. It was September 2017 and I remember crying out to the Lord how desperately I wanted this baby home for the holidays. The holidays were always a difficult time as I would unpack our daughter’s old Halloween costumes, the tiny stocking we bought for our future baby, and things of that sort. We had hoped for the last two years that our year would end with a baby in our home to use those things. I feared 2017 would be another year we would end with broken hearts and empty arms. It was in my desperation that I felt the Lord press into my soul a reminder that he is a FAITHFUL God. Over and over again, I felt Him reminding me that He was not just faithful if He provided us a baby. He was faithful through every single moment of my life – every single joy and every single sorrow. He was faithful through our infertility and through our adoption wait. His faithfulness was NOT conditional on us receiving another child into our home or not. That really sat with me and I stirred over it often; reminding myself of how good He had been to me. That made the wait easier and really helped to renew my spirit.
October 1st we hit our 6 month mark of waiting and honestly, we just took time to enjoy the fall. We spent our weekends doing fun activities as a family and enjoyed celebrating my husband and sister’s birthdays. It was actually the day before my sister’s birthday we received a situation of a baby that had been due the week prior (on my husband’s birthday!) that would be born likely over the upcoming weekend. We put our “yes” on the table and continued on with the weekend. We had so much fun going to a birthday dinner for my sister and crossing a few things off our fall bucket list. We didn’t even have a clue what was about to happen to our lives!
We got the call on Monday that a baby girl had been born and that her birth mother would be reviewing profile books that afternoon. We went about our day as usual – grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and spending a day off school with my daughter. We sat down to watch a movie that afternoon and my phone rang. I froze. Was this THE CALL?! Sure enough – it was an attorney from one of CAC’s agencies letting us know we had been chosen to parent a beautiful 2 day old baby girl and we could head to Florida right away to get her! My husband and I – in a whirlwind – called our family, booked flights, packed like crazy, and hopped on the first available flight the next morning at 5am. We met our daughter, who we named Arden Mae, on Tuesday, October 24th and our whole process suddenly made sense. We looked down at her and tears just fell as we processed that she was what God had for us all along. All those days of doubt – anger – frustration – confusion – fear …. He knew EXACTLY what He was doing. We truly believe that our “Plan B” was God’s “Plan A” for our lives all along – we just had to take a step out in faith and trust Him.
Now that we are on the other side of the “valley” so to speak – we can see everything that God was doing behind the scenes. We make sense of our infertility, which we know without a doubt God used in our lives to show us that adoption was what He had in store for us. We make sense of all the painful “no’s”, which we know now were babies that were meant for other families and that our sweet Arden was always meant for us. Every day that we spent heartbroken we now know were days God drew us closer to Him and made us depend on Him for strength. And now, we shout from the “mountain top” His faithfulness to us for giving us our daughter – who we waited patiently for for so very long.
To anyone about to embark on their adoption journey, my biggest piece of advice is to TRUST. Trust the Lord. Trust the process. Trust your heart when you review each situation. And wholeheartedly believe that the Lord is directing your every step. With Him, there are no mistakes – there is no missing your baby – there is no decision to be made, for He has already made a way and written this baby into your family long ago. When you see the face of that sweet baby, you will know this to be true. Hold on to His promises and trust Him, for it is only in that that you will experience peace on this crazy journey!
Congratulations, Ethan, Danielle, and big sis Emersyn! I’m grateful God crossed our paths and I couldn’t be happier for your sweet family!