When Drew and Becky called me for the first time, they had already been trying to adopt for several years. God had long been working in their hearts and lives to prepare them to welcome a child; they just didn’t know when. It turns out, it was just weeks later they were chosen by and expectant mother and three months after that when they held their son for the first time.
Today Becky has graciously shared excerpts from her blog she wrote throughout their journey to their son. What a beautiful way to trace the conversations they had before they were even married about adoption all the way to their family of three today…
Posted March 7, 2017 A week or two after meeting, Drew came over to my apartment and we sat in the bed of his truck talking about anything that came to mind. One thing we discussed was our futures, separately of course! I just met him, no was way I going to put ‘us’ in my sentences when discussing the future!
Although we avoided using ‘us’ in our sentences, there was one word both of us used. A word that just flowed out of each of our mouths with no hesitation. A word that both of us said with so much passion. A word that brings joy to so many people, but can also bring confusing questions and thoughts to others.
Both Drew and I discussed how we felt called by the Lord to adopt a child. The details of gender, age, race, disabilities, etc. did not get discussed. All that was discussed was the simple fact that we both saw adoption in our futures. The details were not discussed, I believe, because we didn’t understand what the Lord was doing right then and there! As our relationship grew the word adoption came up more and more. It became a part of our combined future. We knew we would go through the process, but we didn’t have any idea when.
For the past three summers Drew has led a mission trip to Montgomery, AL. The trip consists of working with Common Ground Montgomery and House 2 House. These ministries work in the intercity area in a neighborhood called Washington Park. Throughout the week we are there working at the CGM summer camp with the kiddos in the neighborhood, as well as work with H2H and help fix up abandoned homes in the neighborhood.
Since Drew and I have been involved with those ministries our hearts have grown tremendously for the community, ministry leaders, residents, and especially for the kiddos in that area. I would argue, and I think Drew would agree, that the 2016 mission trip was the most eye-opening, heart changing experience.
What is interesting when I say that is from the outside it really wasn’t that different from the previous years. We worked with the same kids, stayed in the same area, had a lot of the same crew with us, played the same games. But in our hearts the Lord was working in ways we didn’t understand and couldn’t put into words. The other interesting thing was that both Drew and I were experiencing the Lord’s presence. We were both feeling this extremely strong, no way to deny it, call towards adoption. However, we were not sharing it with each other! (Communication is the number one strength in our marriage, clearly)
About a week after our 2016 trip Drew and I were sitting down for dinner and that word, adoption, came up again. This time it was different than past times. This time the word lead to research, reaching out to friends who have gone through the adoption process, and most importantly prayer. We prayed and researched for about two months. We wanted to make sure we knew what, if we started this process, we were getting into. We also wanted to make sure the agency we used had beliefs that were similar to ours.
As always, the Lord answered our prayers and made it very clear that we needed to begin this process. December 6th we were sitting in our first meeting with an agency central Florida.
And so the adventure began…
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
Posted January 28, 2020 It’s been a while since we have publicly updated everyone on our adoption journey. So much has happened, yet at the same time there are many days we feel we have made zero progress. Let’s start from the beginning…
In December of 2016 Drew and I began to work with a popular Christian agency and got as far as our second home study (April 2017). Due to some of the things life had thrown at us during our first years of marriage, and the short amount of time that we had been married at the time, they told us they would like us to continue to strengthen our marriage and enjoy being married before we proceeded with them.
“What does that even look like? How do you prove you have a stronger marriage? When are we going to be ‘strong enough’ to have children? Why did we get this far before being told this?
These were just a fraction of the thousands of questions Drew and I had to wrestle through. Did we need to work on our marriage? Of course, but who doesn’t? Had we only been married a short time? Yes, but we really felt we were ready to start our family! It was extremely painful and confusing time. We counted it as a loss.
Our journey had hit a barricade head on.
When someone who doesn’t know you personally is just checking boxes on a checklist and questions your marriage you have two choices…
- Believe the lies they are telling you.
- Fight with everything you have in you to prove them absolutely 100% wrong.
Drew and I only saw one option. We had to prove them wrong. Whoever “they” were. The next two years we spent working on us. We were intentional in learning how to communicate better. We went to counseling and worked through an amazing book about how to “argue” (if you haven’t read Created for Connection it is worth every penny). I know, it sounds ridiculous, how to “argue”, but it has been transformational in our marriage. We established a routine for our week, making each week look as similar as possible, so we are on the same page. Finally, we decided that we refuse to give up us time to please someone else and their agenda.
So, did we get stronger even when we thought we were fine? Yes, we did. Looking back, being told our marriage wasn’t “strong enough” based on a checklist was the BEST thing that ever happened to our marriage.
January 2019, we decide to give this adoption thing another try. We had a personal connection to a local Christian agency and decided to partner with them. We were back on our journey to growing our family. August 2019 we finalized our home studies and in September of 2019 we received our “Congratulations, you’re officially a waiting family” letter. I’m not sure there was a much more glorious day than the day we ripped open that letter. This letter meant that our profile that is created to show birth mothers all about us, our home, our families, our neighborhood, our dreams, etc. was actually going to be shown! We could be chosen any day, week or month. Our agency estimated 12ish months of waiting time. The light was at the end of the tunnel, we could see it!
November 22, 2019 we received an e-mail from the agency we were partnered with. The e-mail simply stated that they were closing their doors. They were no longer able to fund the adoption portion of the agency and were going to continue as just a pregnancy center. That was it. They were done. And our journey once again hit a huge barricade head on.
The agency that closed offered to transfer our file to another agency located in Alabama, but they don’t have a Florida presence. They told us we could wait 4-6 years for a child. In the adoption world that doesn’t just mean 1,460-2,190 days of waiting patiently for a phone call. That means every year that passes results in redoing a ton of paperwork, fingerprints, background checks, physicals, drug tests, blood tests, etc. That means every year that passes is more funds going out the door. Is that something we wanted to sign up for? (Also, we would be 34-36 and 39-41 with a newborn…in other words, looking like grandparents at the kindergarten parent/teacher night.) There were other factors involved in the transfer that Drew and I didn’t feel comfortable with.
”What on earth is our next step?”“How do we get the courage to take the next step?”“When is our family ever going to grow?”“Why is this something we feel called to, yet seems impossible?”
Another list of a thousand questions was formed through conversations with Drew. And the answer to all of them is…We. Don’t. Know.
Here’s what we do know. We know that the Lord has a plan for our lives and our marriage. We know that the Lord is the central part of our marriage. We know that the Lord is doing a great work, even today. We know that there are many people praying for us and our little child. But, we also know that the head knowledge of those things does not make the heart hurt any less.
I don’t write this to receive condolences. I simply write to make people aware. When we began this adoption journey, we had no idea how much heartbreak would be involved. We knew some would be involved but never imagined two losses would be a part of our story. Maybe we were ridiculously naïve. Some may say, “I told you so.” And you’re right, you did. And we listened to your concerns and guidance but, that doesn’t change the desire in our hearts to have adoption be a part of our family story and make up. We feel strongly that the Lord has called us to take in a child as our own, as He did with Drew and I (Eph. 1:5).
So here we are. Basically, we are on I-4 (for you Florida people), without Waze, struggling to find our way due to the many barricades. It’s frustrating, but only a matter of time before we get on the right route to growing our family.
He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:5)
Posted May 11, 2020 What. A. Whirlwind. The secret is finally out!!! Drew and I are parents to a sweet little bundle of joy, Jaylen Lee. To say we are thrilled is an understatement. But man, we are just so excited that we FINALLY got to shout from the rooftops and share our news with everyone!
So how did this all happen…
In January, after my previous post explaining that we were basically at another dead end in our adoption journey, I made it my full time job to figure out how we are to get back on the right path and continue to move forward towards growing our family. With our previous agency closing we had to find someone, anyone, who would accept our approved homestudy and not make us start the journey all over again. We met with a local attorney who pointed us toward Christian Adoption Consultants. On February 6th, CAC and an adoption agency graciously added us to their “waiting family” list right away. It was a dream come true. We had never made it this far in our journey!
February 10th, just a couple of days after becoming a waiting family we were informed that there was an expectant mother ready to look at profile books and choose the parents to raise the child she was carrying. Profile books are basically resumes for your family. They have a ton of pictures and descriptions of your values as a family, your neighborhood, your family and friends, etc. We sent our book to this mother and prayed and prayed and prayed. We were informed that we were not chosen, and we were completely at peace with this. We were just thrilled we got shown, someone knew we were waiting to grow our family. Remember…this was the furthest we had ever made it in this journey.
February 20th we find out there is another expectant mother ready to make one of the biggest decisions of her life. We sent in our profile book and prayed and prayed and prayed.
February 24th as I was in the car with my sister and my niece, and the agency called me to inform me that we were going to be parents! This beautiful, loving, selfless mother carrying a beautifully created baby boy that was due May 7th, had chosen us to raise her son. The call Drew and I had waited years to hear finally came. So after pulling it together, my sister drove me to church to inform my husband that he was going to be a daddy. (Side note: this church building is where we met, got engaged, got married, and now found out we were going to be parents…I see you God!)
Drew and I started calling family and dear friends who have walked this journey with us and shared our exciting news with them! Telling our parents and siblings that we were going to be parents was incredible! But, we still had one more hurdle to jump over…
When you adopt a newborn nothing is finalized until the birth mother signs the paperwork at discharge in the hospital. So as you celebrate the fact that you have been chosen as a parent and secretly set up a nursery, there is always the fear that the birth mother is going to change her mind. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Daily, Drew and I would go through the emotions of “OH MY GOSH! We are going to be parents!” and “This is never going to happen, she’s going to change her mind.” Daily. For three months. If I ever snapped, seemed clueless, was camped out in La La land, or all of the above…I apologize. Blame the roller coaster.
Because of this huge factor with newborn adoption, we chose to keep it close to the vest just in case she did decide to change her mind. People lovingly asked us, “How’s the adoption journey?” and “What’s your status?” and we had to lie, kind of, by saying we were still waiting, and we’re sorry! The lies were just to protect us emotionally. Had momma changed her mind and chose to parent, we would have celebrated that for her, but we would have been mourning the loss of a child and we didn’t want everyone to feel that loss if it wasn’t necessary.
Back to the timeline…
On May 7th at 8:31am this precious little boy, Jaylen Lee was delivered. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to be at the hospital for the delivery. Nothing was official yet, we were just prospective adoptive parents… So we anxiously waited at home on May 7th and 8th and filled our very empty schedules with anything and everything we possibly could. Thank you to each person who helped us fill our schedule, whether you knew what was going on or not. You saved our sanity and my waistline because I am a major stress eater.
May 9th at 11:30am we got a text message from our agency asking us to meet at the hospital at 1pm. It. Was. Go. Time. So we grabbed Nana and Pops, called Grammy and Papa to tell them to get on the road, and off we went to the hospital to meet our baby boy and his strong and courageous birth mother.
And that is how Drew and I became parents to the most perfect, precious, handsome little boy, Jaylen Lee!