I’m humbled that God has given me a front row seat at watching Him bring families together through adoption. While I never know how a family’s adoption journey will unfold, I’ve learned He has a better plan than we could imagine, and He can be trusted! After my first phone call with Mitchell and Susie, I knew I was going to love working with their family. I enjoyed getting to know them even more as I created their family profile and I was sure this fun-loving family was going to match quickly. What expectant mom wouldn’t adore them?! With each “not yet” they heard, I found myself stumped as to why they had not been chosen yet. In the end, it all made perfect sense when they were matched with their son’s birthmom. It just so happened that their son’s birthmom delivered at a hospital less than a mile from my house and I was able to visit them at the hospital and snuggle their precious baby boy. Such a treat!!
Around January or February 2016, we felt like we’d reached the end of the road with the medical interventions in the fertility process. Our doctor was encouraging us to try again – he said that I was perfectly healthy and that another try couldn’t hurt. We walked out of that last appointment and my husband said to me, “I really wish he would have mercy on us and tell us just to stop.” We decided to take time to pray and read our Bibles and figure out what to do next – embryo adoption? Traditional adoption? Pray for a miracle?
Finally, after mourning the loss of the dream of a second biological child, and setting aside the false pride of biology (“we” created our amazing daughter!), and after so much prayer, we sat down and talked and realized we felt clearly God’s call on our lives to adopt. We both felt He was saying, I DO want to grow your family, it’s just not going to be easy, or how you planned. It’s going to be hard, but so, so much better than you ever dreamed.
So, we had our first yes on the table – we were going to adopt domestically. From there, things took us on a journey that could only be God’s plan. As humans, we love to control things, but something I read during this journey said that the lie of adoption, and all of life, is that we are in control. But the beauty of adoption and life is that God is in perfect control and completely trustworthy.
I looked back at my emails just to be sure, but we finally decided to adopt around March 2016, and we contacted Christian Adoption Consultants in early April… which turned out to be just about the exact time our son was conceived. Isn’t God amazing? While we were mired in despair and praying about next steps, desperately desiring a second child, God was already answering our prayer! The truth here really is better than fiction – because when God is the author, He always writes the best stories.
We again jumped in with both feet and had an home study approving us to adopt by June 2016, and sent off applications to agencies at the beginning of July last year. Basically, at that point, all the “doing” was done, so that sense of control (that lie of control) was gone again. There were still choices being made, but they were not ours to make, really. We could choose the expectant moms we wanted to be presented to, but we couldn’t decide whether we were going to be chosen. We presented to 10 or 12 expectant moms, and kept hearing no. Cue the doubts again – God, why are you calling us to do this if you’re not going to answer our prayers? Is this some cruel joke? But when you ask God to do something for you, He often instead wants to do something IN you, and I think that was what was happening in the wait. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” So true – I needed to (and need to) learn that again, that I need to be able to wait. I don’t always need to have the next 20 steps planned out before I start. I simply can’t trust in things turning out the way I planned, but I can trust in a good God who is faithful. In a God who is kind. In a God who is never slow in keeping his promises.
One of the ways God encouraged us during the waiting time was through the financial support of our friends and family. I feel like it’s important to mention this, because this was the part of the process we dreaded most, if I’m being honest. We were so prideful and wanted to do it on our own, but we just were not going to be able to. We got good counsel from friends who called us out on our pride, and told us that we needed to be humble about this and that we would be denying the ability for others to participate in the joy of adoption if we did not seek support. Once we made the “ask,” people told us that they had wanted to help us during our fertility struggles but didn’t know how, and this gave them a tangible way to support us. I can tell you many stories of gifts that had me literally lying on the floor in humble adoration of the goodness of God and the generosity of our friends and family, but suffice it to say people gave so generously, that we were given way more than we even thought to ask for (isn’t that the way God is?), and while we used much of our savings, we did not have to go into debt to pursue adoption, which was such a huge blessing.
Everyone told us all along that when we got our “yes,” all of our “no’s” would make sense, and they were so right. In early January, we got a request to have a call with a mom we’d been presented to who was expecting a little boy, and we ended up having a call with her on January 5. We felt such peace from the first time we talked with our son’s mother. We were able to pray with her, laugh with her over similarities in our families, and even cry a little on that first call. The next morning, January 6, we found out we had matched with her! She was due January 27, so I planned to go shopping for some boy things the next weekend. Again – God surprised us with a plan much different than ours, and the following Thursday, one week after we first spoke with her, she called me at work to tell me she was having contractions. That night was a blur of packing, getting a last minute flight, but one moment that stands out was getting a text from a friend telling me to come over to borrow some newborn boy items. I drove over there late that evening and she and her husband prayed with me, giving me some calm in the midst of a whirlwind.
God was so faithful in all of the details of our son’s birth and arrival. I landed in Florida on the afternoon of Friday January 13, and I was able to spend about 24 hours with our son’s birth mom in the labor and delivery room. That was such a special time. She asked us to be in the delivery room for his birth, and my husband, who had driven down, walked into the hospital room at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, and our son was born 14 minutes later at 12:24. Our son’s birth mom asked me to cut the umbilical cord. It was seriously the best experience. We cannot say enough about how amazing she was through this whole process. Because it was a small hospital, and because they were very adoption-friendly, they set us up in a room that day, and our birth mother allowed our son to room in with us the entire time we were at the hospital. Before she was released from the hospital, she even had her pastor come and pray over our son with all of us, and her parents. It just was an unbelievable experience.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll try to wrap it up! I’ve been asked what it feels like to be a part of an adoption. There is great sorrow in the process of adoption (both in what God did for us and in the adoption of children here on Earth). It involves lots of brokenness on all sides – physical, emotional, spiritual. But, there is also GREAT JOY. Joy in having a son, joy in being a son. Yes, there is much heartache in the path of adoption, but the outcome is so, so good. It is worth it all! Thank you for taking the time to listen to a little piece of my story today. And since your story is likely very different from mine, I pray that you might feel encouraged wherever you are today – and in whatever present sufferings you might be experiencing.
I wanted to close with some of my favorite verses during this time, which kept coming up over and over in a way that couldn’t be coincidental. I certainly will not say I always “rejoiced in our sufferings,” but in any event, I did find them encouraging, and hopefully you will too. It’s Romans 5:3-5, which says:
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.