Adoption is full of waiting. Waiting to know if adoption is the way to grow your family. Waiting for the home study to be completed. Waiting to know if you were approved for grants. Waiting to see situations. Waiting to hear if you’ve been chosen. Waiting for a baby to be born.
But what do you do when the wait is much longer than you anticipated? What do you do if hurdle after unexpected hurdle comes up and you wonder if adoption was really the right way to grow your family? What do you do when you wonder if this was really the best path for you?
Today Michelle shares their long journey of waiting. How she wrestled with never having a promise from God that a baby would be at the end of the wait. And how she learned that following God and being obedient in the midst of it was exactly what her heart, and her family, needed.
|Photo credit: Jen Moore Photography|
As I sit down to write our adoption story, I wonder where to begin.Do I begin in third grade as my best friend of the year, Angela, told me about living in foster care?Do I begin as Ben and I sat at Cedarville University in a lounge talking about how many kids already needed homes?Or do I begin seven years ago when, after Nathanael’s birth, I had an emergency surgery that reminded me that I didn’t need to get pregnant again to have another child?
All of these are great places to begin.They are all part of our story.There are countless other moments that we considered adoption before acting on it.Ben once answered a survey saying if I were famous it would probably be for running an orphanage.Our hearts have been willing for a long time.However, I think I should start with the first adoption I really knew; being adopted by God.You see I was born into a sinful world, with a sinful family, and with a sinful heart.Jesus came and lived a perfect life and laid down his life so that I may become part of his family.He died to pay for my sins and adopted me into his family.Feeling love from someone who chose me and sacrificed for me, they are the real reason we could keep trying.If I didn’t tell you about this adoption, our perseverance wouldn’t make sense.
We actually began the work of adoption four and a half years ago.We signed up with Susan at Christian Adoption Consultants, to help navigate the process of adoption. Four and a half years is a long time, but we didn’t get far into the process before deciding to pause it when several traumatic events happened.We needed go through some healing first before we would have time to work on the adoption.Through my own healing I decided to become a Biblical Counselor along the way.We decided to stop putting life on hold for tragedies or hardships and just pursue adoption in the midst of life.
The next year and a half of waiting held more trauma with extended family divorce, a sibling having a stroke,a near adoption, a failed adoption, and family members’ still birth. And in the midst of it all a world wide pandemic and race protest going on in the background.
Through all of this I had decided to try to breastfeed an adopted baby for the sake of bonding and for the best nutrition available for him or her.This itself was a hardship.My body took a while to adjust to the medicines and I had some unpleasant side effects along with other struggles.What I didn’t know was that I began pumping the very week our daughter was being conceived.I pumped five to six times a day for the next eight months without being matched to ax expectant mom and baby.I struggled on and off wrestling with if I was even supposed to adopt.Every time I prayed and was really down, I felt God assure me to ‘keep going.’He never promised me a baby or assured me that the end result would be nursing, but he asked me to walk this road.Learning to walk a road without a known destination is hard.
Finally we got a call that we thought was “the” call.We were matched with a baby boy already born.I was so excited!We packed in a hurry waiting to hear a final go ahead. But we never got that final go ahead.The mama had decided to parent.We prayed for her and accepted that this was yet another no or not yet.
This is when I really had to surrender my plans.I no longer had hope we would adopt, but also did not feel released from the daily work of pumping.I cried out to God about it and once again said, “I will follow where you lead.”I wanted assurance that we would adopt and that this pumping was for my baby, but I didn’t get that.I learned to do everything unto the Lord.My pumping, my paperwork, my daily task… their results were up to God.I am just called to follow and obey.We really don’t have control of the future.The Coronavirus has proven that to the world.
We got a second call just two months later telling us “this is not a drill, pack your bags.”The birth mom had already signed final papers and we needed to travel right away!Our baby girl was born at 35 weeks gestation, but perfectly healthy.We had our bags packed and were driving to the airport three hours later.