Shauna is a CAC “adoption buddy” of mine. When we were adopting Titus, she was in the process of adopting their daughter and we encouraged and prayed for one another along the way. I so appreciate her heart to see her own life story as an adoptee and as an adoptive mama through the lens of the Gospel. Thank you, Shauna, for sharing some of your story here!
God Meant It For Good: By Shauna
When you hear of adoption we often say it’s born from tragedy…and in my case that was the same. My life story started with heartache. When I was 4 my mother died and my father was unable to care for us. My brother and I went to live with our grandparents, who we did not really know. We lived there until I was 11 and life got messy. I was in foster care for a short time, then on my own and living with anyone who would take me in at only 12 years old. When I was 15 I went to live with my aunt and her family. This is where God orchestrated for me to have a family again! I was adopted by my pastor and his wife and it was life-changing. For the first time, I began to feel loved and know what that was supposed to look like. But unfortunately, because of past hurts and trauma it was so hard for my heart to receive the love and care I so desperately needed.
They were amazing and walked beside me through so many changes, hardships and healing! They were truly an example to me of Christ’s love, not loving someone based on how they act or if they deserve that love. They pursued me and fought for me even when I pushed them away, to show me I was safe and loved.
Growing up living with my grandparents was normal for me, but when that got misplaced was when I started feeling the hurt and pain of not having a “normal” family…a mom and dad who were there caring for me, teaching me and showing me love. And at that season in my life I felt so abandoned by everyone. However, some of those exact feelings of the loss was what drew me to the Hope of the gospel and a Father who loved me unconditionally. I had never experienced that kind of love before. In my testimony of God’s work in my life my favorite verse is from Genesis 50:20 where Joseph remarks, “what they intended for evil God intended for good!” And as I look back on my life, being adopted myself and now being an adoptive mom (and in so many other aspects of my life) I can truly see where God was weaving this redemptive story of GOOD from bad!!
For me, being adopted was one of the biggest things that caused my heart to want to adopt! When I was dating my husband that was a conversation we had on one of our first dates-that if he wanted to marry me he needed to know I would adopt some day. My heart’s deepest desire as we began our family was to model the love Christ has for us…and I believe that adoption is a big part of that.
We met our first son when we were missionaries at an orphanage for kids with special needs in Brazil. We fell in love with him and he attached to us right away! He was that one that had to follow me even to the bathroom! When our visas could not be extended we knew that it was part of God’s bigger plan to come back to the states and pursue adopting him. He was 6 when we brought him home and just turned 18. He has such a sweet spirit and we are so thankful that God has allowed us to be his parents!
We then grew our family by 3 biologically. I still felt our family was not complete, but after several miscarriages, we knew this was not the path we were on. Then the Lord heavily placed the desire of adoption on my heart again. And when I say that, I mean that kind of urgency where your hubby thinks you have gone crazy and you’re thinking everything should have been done yesterday!
We had some sweet friends who had just adopted domestically with CAC so I met with her to gather info…and as soon as my hubby was on board (a few weeks of praying) we began the paper trail. We were ready about 5 months later to begin presenting to expectant moms (where they look at profile books and choose a family). It was such an exciting time! We had so many times that we put our heart out there praying this would be our yes….but so many times it was a “no.” We were saddened but ultimately we were trusting God for his choosing and we were honored each of those times to pray for the moms as they made this difficult choice.
After about 5 months we got the call we had been waiting and praying for, “SHE CHOSE YOU!!!!” We were thrilled. We all can remember exactly what we were doing when we got that call 3 years ago! It was just a month until our expectant mama was due, and we were able to be there for the birth which was one of the most amazing and devastating things to witness at the same time. We brought home our beautiful daughter and she is such a joy and treasure to us! Then when our sweet girl was 6 months old we got custody of another little girl who needed a family; she was 2, and had experienced a lot in those 2 years.
Six months later we found out we were expecting! This was such a shock to us, due to many miscarriages and one that ended in a surgery, we thought we would not be able to get pregnant again. And then when that sweet boy was 10 months old, we got a call from our agency that our daughter’s birth mom had made the difficult decision again to place her baby for adoption. It was ironic timing… I had just been discussing to my girlfriends that day that God had grown our family in such fast exciting ways in the last 3 years and we felt as our family was complete…then this phone call! I just love the stories God creates so much more than my own. After a week of praying we again said “YES!” And were once again able to fly to be with our child’s birth mom and witness our sweet little girl being born into this world. She is loved by 2 women so much!
So, if you’re still following that story we grew from a family of 4 kids to 8 in 2.5 years!! I hear the question often, “How can a birth parent love, if they are giving them up ?” My heart just breaks at this thought. Our family would not be what it is today if our 4 birth moms had not had chosen life and loved these little ones so much that they sacrificed their own hearts and their love to give these children what they thought was best!
I think when I look at our family story or my own adoption story, the one thing I hope to portray, is that even though it is not always easy it is SO, SO worth it! I cannot imagine our family any different than it is today! And we truly thank God for the ways he has grown our hearts through this process. We are honored for the privilege to love and raise all 8 of these precious ones he has entrusted to us. If you feel open to adoption I would encourage you to pursue it. It honestly has been the biggest blessing in our lives. And I would love to chat with you if you have any questions!