Today’s adoption story comes from a sweet couple, Mitch and Katie, who live in my community. It was a joy to meet their sweet daughter recently at her baby shower!
Katie and Mitch have beautiful hearts for the Lord, and it was so encouraging to see how brave and courageous they were during the journey to their sweet Lydia.
Katie has so kindly shared some of the “highs and lows” of their adoption experience with us today on the blog…..
Grab a cup of coffee and let their story encourage you.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Mitch and I first began to talk about adoption before we were married. At that time it was something that I felt the Lord calling me to do. Over the next decade, I would watch as the Lord brought Mitch to this same calling and united us in our adoption journey as a family.
When our boys were 4 and 1 and a half we decided it was time to start the process. We were unsure how long it would take to come to completion, and wanted to hopefully make some progress as we waited for a little one we felt confident the Lord wanted us to love and parent.
We began our home study in January of 2018 and signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants. Once we finished our home study in April, CAC helped us apply with various agencies and attorneys as a waiting family, ready to present to expectant parents seeking an adoption plan for their child.
Throughout the spring, summer, and the beginning of fall, we presented to 12 different cases. Each time we received a case, we would quickly read through it with a mix of excitement and grief for the individuals we read about. The first few “not yets” were hard to hear but we had hope for the future. After a few more no’s, I began to get discouraged and confused.
By the time we got to the 12th no in October of 2018, I was so confused. I didn’t understand why the Lord would have so clearly called us to something yet not open the door to do it. I began to question our calling, and why our family wasn’t being chosen. I tearfully started to reevaluate our situation and wonder if the Lord was leading us down another road. I had felt that this was the way God wanted to use us and grow our family, but I began to doubt.
What I didn’t realize was all this time, God was strengthening our courage and giving us wisdom to discern His guidance in our life when the door He ordained would one day be in front of us. This quote by C.S. Lewis, continually kept running through my mind during those months of waiting and hearing no’s, “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” We kept praying for God to give us the peace to continue presenting to adoption situations if that was His will for us.
On October 8th, we were driving back from Florida, after visiting my sister and our precious newborn niece. We turned on a sermon to listen to in the car while the boys watched a movie in the back seat. I picked one where Acts 16 was the reference. Admittedly, I wasn’t even familiar with what was in this particular passage. Yet, I know now that it was not just random chance that specific passage was chosen. For years, Mitch and I had had the name “Lydia” picked out for a girl. We are the weird people who have baby names chosen even before there’s a baby to speak of. If our oldest, Carter, had been a girl, we would have named him Lydia. Well in Acts 16, is where Paul and members of his ministry encounter Lydia. Their original travel plans were shifted by the Lord, and this led them to meet an influential woman named Lydia, who listened to their teachings and she became a believer along with her whole family. This word was so encouraging to me and came just when I needed to hear it.
I began to trust that God purposefully closes doors so that he can accomplish His purposes according to His will. And even if it meant confusion, or hurt, or a no, it was all ultimately for my good and His glory. When we came home that night, there was a quick rain shower and we took the boys into the backyard to play after it stopped raining. Then God gave us the sweetest visual reminder of His sovereignty and love for us. We saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky. I went to bed that night with a full heart, swelling with comfort from the Lord’s kindness to show us this, even though I had no idea if we would ever actually adopt or not. God was near, and in control, whatever the outcome.
The next day we got an email from the last attorney we had signed on with about a month earlier. This attorney had just told us in September that families normally wait a year or so with her, and she rarely has “stork drop” situations where the baby is already born. The email described a situation where a baby girl was already born, on 9/10/18, her birth mother was bravely seeking an adoption plan for her baby and had signed her consents to terminate parental rights. The baby had to have part of her small intestines removed the day after she was born because of multiple blockages. The need for this had been identified on an ultrasound before she was born. She had a colostomy bag attached and this was expected to be removed 6-8 weeks after the initial surgery. We prayed about it, consulted Gretchen and some family members, and felt the Lord calling us to present to this birth mother.
We sent the email saying yes, please show our profile book to her. The next day they let us know that unfortunately she did not want to see families that had boys in them. We were so discouraged and saddened that our sweet boys were not part of this birth mother’s preferences in an adoptive family, but we thanked them for the opportunity to try to present. We prepared to move on, trusting that the Lord was lovingly in control of what seemed like another closed door.
The next day, on October 10th, the attorney’s office let us know that this birth mother had reconsidered her preferences. She agreed to look at our family and consider us! They were waiting on some other family profiles but would be able to show her ours as well. We were honestly shocked! We had never encountered anything like that in all the previous cases we presented to. The following day, as they put together all the family profile books for her, we were asked if we would be able to travel to see the baby soon if we were chosen. We of course said yes and prepared to wait for the answer.
On Friday, October 12th, a little over 9 months after starting the adoption process, we were told that we were chosen! In that moment, all I could think was how God did this.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” He had brought us all together. He had orchestrated all the details of this story.
We still had a lot of unknowns concerning her health, and truth be told, that did make us nervous. But at the end of the day, we felt as though God was leading us to move forward. To be available, to be her family, to love her unconditionally and raise her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to help her through these health issues ahead. We sought counsel from several godly friends and family members, and their encouragement and unwavering support was so valuable during a time when there were a lot of fears mixed with excitement for what was ahead.
That weekend we nervously and excitedly prepared to travel to meet baby Lydia. She had been delivered at a hospital in the same city that my brother and sister- in- law live in. God provided housing through sweet family, during her entire hospital stay!
We met her on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018….Our wedding anniversary.
She was just over a month old. A NICU nurse was working at the nurses station, holding her while she slept when we walked in. I was overcome with emotion when I saw her tiny frame, her beautiful face, and the way God had brought us to that exact moment. I will never forget the nurse saying with a big smile,
“Are you the adoptive parents? We were hoping she would go to a good family. We are so happy you’re here.”
Mitch and I both soaked her in, cried, and held her all day. That sweet anniversary day was such a gift from the Lord.
We spent the next few days learning more from medical staff about her situation and later that week we had to go to an initial court hearing to approve the intervention of adoption. Lydia had been headed towards foster care when her first mom decided on adoption and wanted to place her in a family of her choosing.
I will be forever grateful to her and the courageous, difficult, choice she lovingly made for Lydia.
The court date was very emotional as we stood before the judge and listened to our attorney describe the situation in legal terms. We were extremely nervous not knowing if we would be asked questions or not and we had been told Lydia’s first mom might be present and we would have the opportunity to meet her. I prepared a letter to give to her and thought about what I would say. The judge however, was so sweet and supportive to us, we hugged her afterwards and she even gave us a stuffed animal for Lydia’s hospital room. Although Lydia’s first mother chose not to come, we were able to pass our letter on to her, and have since then been in communication with her through letters and pictures of Lydia. After the court date, the judge approved the intervention and we were in a position to legally adopt Lydia. The focus of the process shifted towards a medical course of action to help Lydia be able to leave the NICU.
The next week the surgeon came by and assessed the situation. He said he would rather wait until she was bigger, like several months old, to reconnect her colon. We were surprised at the change in plans, but prepared to do what was necessary for Lydia’s best interest. This change of plans would mean Lydia would have a colostomy bag for a lot longer than we had originally been told, and we would have to learn how to care for her ostomy. It meant we would have to find a surgeon back in our home state to reconnect her at an unknown point in the future. We were also told at one point they may have to discharge her on IV fluids if she was having trouble absorbing her formula. We grew nervous about what life would be like back home with these medical needs and complications, and two other young children to care for, but resolved to trust the Lord with it all and be there for Lydia no matter what. Thankfully, the surgeon got a second opinion from his partner, and they agreed she could be reconnected earlier and they would do the surgery together.
On October 26th, she underwent surgery to reconnect her colon. I hardly slept or ate until she was out of surgery and we learned the outcome. My parents came to the hospital and waited there with us all day while Mitch’s parents took care of our boys back home. We are so thankful for all of our loved ones who sent scripture, prayers, words of encouragement, and lifted us up during that time. It made such a difference to our weary hearts. We were exhausted from the travel back and forth, the long hospital days, and stress of medical unknowns, but the Lord carried us through and the surgery was successful!
Over the next week she slowly healed in the NICU, and over time she was able to start feedings by mouth again. She continued to do well, by the grace of God, and by His help, she was able to be discharged from the hospital on November 9th, 2018, World Adoption Day, another special date that the Lord ordained.
We had to stay in Florida until our ICPC paperwork went through we could get clearance to travel across state lines with her. We stayed with my brother and then my parents for a while, and we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving there with all my immediate family. It was an exhausting, blessed time but we had sweet family helping us and lots of others praying for us from afar. My dad and sister are both medical doctors and their help and advice was such a support for us as we learned how to care for Lydia and help her grow.
The day after Thanksgiving we drove back home. After a month and a half of travel for us, and two months of NICU life for her, we brought her into our house and she was finally home with no wires, beeping monitors, or colostomy.
God provided so many blessings to us through out the entire process while also stretching and challenging us.
He knew exactly how long we needed to wait to have the courage to say yes to Lydia’s situation. He knew what we needed to grow in faith, grow in obedience, and grow closer to Him. He put people in our lives that encouraged and blessed us and helped us draw nearer to each other and to Him. He provided shelter, family members with medical knowledge, funds, and the strength to trust and keep going in the fear of unknowns. He ordained it all, gave us beautiful reminders of His love, and the deepest love for our sweet Lydia.
I pray we never stop being in awe of His faithfulness and sovereignty with each detail of Lydia’s story. She is the most precious and perfect addition to our family and her life is already such a powerful testimony to the Lord’s goodness and love!