ADOPTION STORY: PHILIP AND HOPE
Friday, January 19, 2018
Henry’s story takes root very early in our lives, before we even had a clue. God is beyond good. He knows and cares more about us than we could ever realize.
Before we were even married or together, Philip and I have always looked forward to starting a family. We love children! So when we finally got married, it was an easy decision to say we wanted to have children almost immediately. People never assume that they will be the ones who cannot conceive. Each month was a roller coaster of highs and?lows; we went from hoping for the best followed by being disappointed with, what we thought was, the worst. Fast forward to about two and a half years into this journey? we had seen multiple doctors, had lots of tests, and went through trials with no positive answers. We always had a heart for adoption, but, like most everyone else, we madeour plan? to have biological children first and then consider adopting after. God let us try our plan, and He patiently waited until our hearts, mostly my heart, had softened and relinquished the control I thought I had over it all.
Just days after a rather disappointing appointment with a fertility specialist, I felt at my lowest and asked God why it had come to this point, with very little options left and no hope. And in that moment, God gave me absolute peace. Peace that allowed me to instantly let go of the things I thought I would mourn for a long time. Peace that lifted me up in extreme excitement knowing that I had been looking for my child in the wrong place. I was given the hope that he or she was still on its way; I just needed to redirect my idea of how, where, and when we would receive this child. Philip had reached that point of peace before me, and we were ready to dive in to adoption that same evening. And so we did! Within days, we had spoken with Leah and were signed up!
For the first time in a long time, we had this overwhelming sense of being on the right path. Little did we know, our son was already conceived. I worked quickly through the initial parts of the adoption process, and we were soon ready to receive situations. In hindsight, the entire process was rather quick, especially compared to our years of trying to conceive. But during the time of receiving situations, it felt like eternity. We presented to a couple of situations and were not chosen. That was much harder than I thought it would be. But, just as Leah always encouraged me, God did not let us miss the child He had planned for our family. The other situations were just not meant for us. But rather, we were meant to know about them and pray for those babies, birth parents, and adoptive parents.
About four months into receiving situations, we decided to present to another expectant mother. We submitted our paperwork and profile like normal and waited. A few days later, I got an email that a different expectant mother had seen our family profile on the agency’s website and said she would like us to parent her baby?just like that! This came as a wonderful surprise, but also brought many confusing emotions. First, after so many previousno’s,? we had started to wonder why no one thought we would be good parents for their child (that is a lie from Satan, by the way). And now, a mother had chosen us! Plus, she chose us first, before we even knew about her or the baby! Overjoyed by this news, disappointment still lingered afterwards. Since we had just presented to another situation, we could not say yes to this one. While we would have surely been so happy with the original situation if we had been chosen, this new one just felt right. How could we say no to someone who was offering us the blessing of parenting her child? But the reality was we were going to have to say no. I was heartbroken. I remember sitting in our kitchen sobbing. Philip is always more level headed than I am and can accept things the way they come. But this time, you could tell it didn’t sit right with him either.
In desperation, I emailed Leah about this. I asked if there was any way we could see if the first mother had chosen anyone yet, or if there was an idea when that would be decided. At this point, we believed she had already had the profiles. Leah asked that agency and got back to us quickly with the news that the mother had not come in to pick up the profiles yet, so technically we had not presented to her yet. The agency was going to remove our name from the list of families for her and we were clear to say yes to this new mother. The way that worked out was ONLY God’s doing. He was trying to show us, yet again, that nothing is impossible with Him. Nothing is the end with Him. And just like that, we could say yes to this little boy!
The information we received about this expectant mother and baby boy was what we had been looking for all along. It all felt like the perfect fit. The email first came on a Tuesday night. By the following Friday October 20th, the match was official. Our little boy was due November 18th. We could hardly believe we only had 4 short weeks to prepare for this little guy. So much needed to be done!! So much money needed to be raised! But it was with pure excitement that we moved forward awaiting his arrival. We didn’t tell our families until two days later on October 22nd. The following day at work we told our coworkers and friends. That same day, I got a call from the agency saying Henry had been born and we could come and get him. Though 4 weeks early, he was healthy and ready for us! I think time stopped for a little, and I could not comprehend what I had just heard. He had been born the previous day, on October 22nd, while we celebrated the news with our families. The next 24 hours were a blur. Leaving work knowing I wouldn’t be back for 3 months, packing, running to the store to buy preemie clothes and baby items, the bank, booking flights, etc. By Tuesday at 2pm we were there, in the hospital lobby, waiting for the caseworker to take us to meet our son. What a crazy feeling. We were first emailed about this child on a Tuesday evening, and exactly one week later, we were in the hospital about to meet him. God knew we had waited long enough in our quest for our child, and so he sped things along, and thank goodness He did! When we were finally able to go to the NICU and meet our baby boy, we experienced the most indescribable moment. He was just handed to us- this precious, tiny, baby boy. Our Henry Philip. We had waited for this child for so long?for years and years. And when we held him for the first time, I remember his tiny, little forehead wrinkled up as he opened his eyes to see his parents for the first time. It was as if he was saying, I have been waiting for you, too. I can never ever thank God enough for those precious initial moments.
During our journey of fundraising, trying to prepare, and waiting so impatiently, God showed me that adoption is much more than this miracle of having a child. We were blessed beyond belief by people’s generosity, kind words, and prayers. We had the privilege of hearing others? adoption stories, whether they had adopted or had been adopted. We saw just how kind and selfless people can be, even people you don’t know very well, or at all. God had His mighty hand in all of this. And my eyes were opened to that along the way. He softened the hardness in my heart that I didn’t realize I had. He opened my eyes to the needs around me and challenged me to be more generous and giving. If it weren’t for the generosity of others, our story would be much different. I just cannot get past the ways people gave to us – items, money, prayers, a condo to stay in and a car to drive while in FL, secret stashes of cash for food and traveling expenses, words of encouragement to carry our hearts, and much more! While we were in Florida, completely unsure of how the rest of our money would be raised, family and friends took care of it for us at home. Baby items were sent to our house and money was being raised while we snuggled our little bundle of joy. Blessing and after blessing.
Our time with Henry in the NICU, relaxing in Florida, and coming home was like a dream come true. God put him in our hearts a long time ago, we just had to be patient. And everything we have been through in our lives and in our marriage led us to this moment of meeting him and knowing such a new and overwhelming love. We thank God every day for our little sweetheart and for the loving decision his birth parents made.
Just one adoption is so powerful; it affects many people, many hearts, many lives. Henry’s story has changed and blessed more than just Philip and I. We feel privileged to call him our son!
Congratulations Philip and Hope!! It was so much fun watching God grow your family through adoption!