Did we hear God wrong?
It’s easy to second guess your adoption plans when you’re in the middle of the process; in the trenches of the wait. Sometimes even easy to second guess your faith and your ability to clearly hear God’s call. But I’ve learned that God is always at work, even when we can’t see it.
Chris and Jen had these questions and decided to give up their plans for growing their family through adoption. And that’s exactly the time they received a call about their son. Today Jen shares the questions, and the answers, that led them to their family of two growing to three.
On October 6, after about ten long years of trying and considering many different options for growing our family and one failed adoption match last September in which a mama changed her mind literally at the last minute, we adopted a five month old baby boy. We’ve named him Timothy James and we call him “TJ.”
This brings not just the normal expected joy to our life that you would expect with the arrival of a new baby, but even greater joy in light of the devastating failed adoption last year. In that case, the news that the mama had changed her mind came as we were traveling from Oklahoma – Jen by air and Chris by car. Jen had just landed in Tampa when the call came. Chris was still driving and discovered he was no longer traveling to pick up a baby, but now to rescue Jen.
We were crushed and for the next year grew ever more doubtful that we would ever have a child. Nearly every profile we received was outside our comfort zone – at 51 years old for Chris and 48 for Jen, we had realized that our tolerances towards things like prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol were really low, and these were both prevalent factors with nearly every adoption profile we received. Nevertheless over the next year there were about five times that we did decide to have our profile presented to an expectant mama but we were never chosen – more loss, more discouragement, and more questions as to what God was doing. Was God ever going to give us a child? Why had God allowed us to go through a failed match – the very thing we prayed against in the first place? In our prayers we had told God we only had one shot at this in us, both emotionally and financially. Had we heard God wrong? Had God only called us to pursue adoption but never promised us a baby? But why call us to pursue adoption if He had not plans to give us a child? So many questions.
And no answers.
By the time we received our call, on September 29th we had reached the end of our rope. We had traveled to East Tennessee to visit family on the occasion of Chris’ grandmother’s 99th birthday and we had decided that we were done; we couldn’t take it anymore. When we got back home, Jen was going to email all the adoption agencies/lawyers we were working with and tell to stop sending us situations. No more profiles. No more emails. Nothing. We were done.
And on the way home we got a call from one of our agencies telling us that there was a healthy baby boy waiting for placement and he could be ours if we wanted him. It seemed like the perfect situation and he was meeting all developmental markers. We took a couple hours to talk and pray and jumped at the opportunity.
A week later we were in Florida signing adoption papers. We had gone from Team Chris-n-Jen to a family of three – complete with a teething five month old who is precious in every way. His presence reminds us that God is not slow in keeping His promises but that everything comes in the fullness of His timing.
God’s timing is so different than ours. We should have remembered this since we didn’t come to our marriage (first and only for both us) until later in life. Over the next ten years we explored many different avenues for growing our family. Each time, we were met with a closed door and disappointed hope until God answered us with a “yes” through TJ. Along the way, we learned about Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC). In 2017, we began our journey with Susan VanSyckle through CAC. She offered resources, guidance, and support as we narrowed our focus in pursuit of adoption. Six months into our journey with CAC, we encountered some adoption obstacles that led us to pause until another time and another season. Later, we continued our contract with CAC and we entered into our 2019 adoption match that we looked forward to an open adoption with an expectant mother and welcoming a newborn into our family. Soon after the devastating news that the mother changed her mind, Susan called Jen while she was still at the airport trying to figure out what to do next. Having her support was extremely important for such a time as this. As we chose to continue cautiously taking steps toward another match, Susan encouraged us to add more agencies to our multiple agency approach. It was during this time that we chose to apply to the agency that ultimately matched us with our son and it was such a positive experience.
We have deep respect for our son’s birth mother and birth father. We are very thankful that God created life through them and that TJ’s birth mother chose adoption as the option she believed was best for TJ’s future. We are so very grateful for both foster families who lovingly cared for TJ during his first 5 months and 5 days of life until he was place with us.
Adoption has changed us for the better. It has been the most difficult journey of our lives and at the same time the best decision we’ve made in our marriage. Our faith has been challenged and also strengthened in a very difficult season of life. Though our foundation was shaken, we remained firmly rooted in Christ. God is already using TJ in our lives, in our loved ones spread across the miles, and in our community where we live. We look forward to all that God has in store for the life of our son. We prayerfully wait for the finalization of our adoption and are grateful for each day with TJ. God is in control of our lives and He knows the path that He has prepared for TJ. We may never fully understand the journey we’ve traveled to where we are now, that’s okay. Our job is to remain faithful to God. May our story be lived for His glory and may others be encouraged whatever the path they are walking and no matter how hard, how much loss, or how hopeless the journey is that they’re walking. God is working through Covid and adoption and everything else that we are experiencing in this season of life.
May God’s will be done and may He be glorified!