When Brad and Corinne connected with me last summer about adopting again I was thrilled. It was an honor walking with them when they brought their son, Floyd home. You can read more about the amazing way this sweet boy joined their family in these posts: In Their Own Words: An Adoptive Family Chronicles Their Journey and Adoption Story: Brad and Corinne.
This time around was a bit of a whirlwind. They began with Christian Adoption Consultants at the end of July, were home study ready in September, were matched just weeks later, and were holding their daughter just after Thanksgiving. But God had been doing much much more in the years leading up to those few short months…
I’ll be sharing Brad and Corinne’s story again in two parts. The following is the sweet letter Corinne and Brad wrote to their family and friends, announcing the birth of their sweet daughter and the miraculous ways God worked in their hearts and lives.
|Photos by Sohale Photography|
It is with great joy that we officially introduce you to our daughter:
Reflecting on the story Jesus has been writing for years to bring us to this moment – it’s overwhelming! I am thrilled to be able to share it with you finally.
While we were going through fertility treatments, Brad and I had a specific name in mind for a biological baby. When that door closed and we opened the door of adoption, the name no longer felt right. This past spring, “Naomi” kept coming to mind out of the blue, which was a bit random to me. I mean, it’s a beautiful name, but one that had never made it onto our list. As it kept returning to my mind, I began wondering if God was giving me a name for our next child.
One day, I was chatting with my Mom about it when she said, “Corinne, Naomi is a family name! Naomi was Papa Floyd’s best friend.” I couldn’t believe I had missed this connection entirely! Brad and I continued discussing names, landing confidently on Naomi Rae. Turns out, Naomi Rae means “Beautiful Understanding” or “Beautiful Precept,” which felt so descriptive of our journey!
Back in January 2018, my dear friend from college, Beth, was going through 21 days of prayer and fasting with her church to begin the new year. Without telling me, she dedicated part of her fast specifically praying for a baby for me. She knew that we were once again in a season of begging Jesus to move, begging Him to expand our family somehow. As most of you know, we had been trying since 2012 to get pregnant with no luck. The Lord saw fit to put adoption on our hearts and then blessed us with Floyd in 2015. Since then we’ve always desired for him to grow up with a sibling.
Fast forward seven months later to July 2018: Beth called me from an airport saying, “Corinne, I’ve hesitated to share this with you because I could be wrong. But in January, during our church fast, I used that time to fast and pray specifically for a baby for you. I felt like the Lord spoke something to me about you, but I have been unsure if I should share it with you, and I now feel like I should. I felt like the Lord said that you would be pregnant with a baby girl at the end of September.” I remember getting off the phone with tears of relief streaming down my face as I shared my conversation with Brad. September was only three months away – maybe our time of waiting would soon be over!
Less than one month after my conversation with Beth, my body began showing signs of shutting down. No matter how much I tried to believe everything was fine, I was undeniably sick. Our house’s previously unknown mold issue rendered me bedridden for ten days, barely able to eat or drink anything, and led our doctor to diagnose me with a lifelong autoimmune disorder, allowing me to be particularly susceptible to the natural toxins given off by mold. Brad and I unexpectedly found ourselves having to quickly leave behind our beloved house, most of our belongings, and our charming neighborhood community of seven years to move into a new, mold-free apartment across town, all in a span of a single weekend. To say that season was traumatic would be an understatement.
By the time September 2018 rolled around, I was in the worst physical shape of my entire life. Not only was I now grieving the loss of our home and beloved community, but also the loss of a seemingly confirmed dream that I’d be pregnant by the end of that month. My body was in no shape to carry a pregnancy, let alone a healthy one. Brad and I had previously chatted about trying fertility treatment that fall, but it was now off the table as we needed to focus solely on my healing. It felt like every time we mustered up enough strength to hope again at the possibility of expanding our family, another door slammed in our face. My heart was beyond weary. Proverbs says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” and I can’t think of a better description of that season.
As months passed, our time in that tiny apartment proved to be the season of rest and healing that my body and our hearts truly needed. God provided a path for us to sell our beloved home and we moved to our new home in August 2019. Just that year, Brad’s work began offering fertility treatment as part of their benefits package, which is honestly unheard of. And thanks to a clean environment and months of intentional rest and care, my body was now healthier than it had been in years! So in September 2019, we went back to the fertility center. I remember walking into the office, the same office we had gone to for treatment years before, and instead of familiar dread, I felt hope, possibly even joy! If you’ve ever been in a fertility treatment waiting room, you know how heavy it feels. Every person sitting in that room has the same desire to have a child and all come with broken stories of hope deferred. As I saw myself in those people in that waiting room, it was like Jesus whispered, “Corinne, look how much I have healed your heart in these seven years.” And so, with fresh hope, we began fertility treatment again.
First round – unsuccessful. Second round – my body began showing signs of another autoimmune shutdown response episode, so we had to cancel. Third round – we had to cancel again because of an unavoidable work trip for Brad. Around this same time, my beloved Papa Floyd’s body began failing. What was supposed to be our fourth attempt at treatment instead became our final moments with him in this life. On my final visit with Papa, the very last thing he said to me, just days before he went to be with Jesus, was, “Toots, where is your baby? Have you had your baby yet? Is it a girl or a boy?” I remember walking out of his room and breaking down in tears in the hall. You see, Papa had been praying daily for children for us for seven years. Last fall was saturated in grief. With heavy hearts, in December 2019, we decided to take a break from treatment again.
|Photo by Megan Schmitz Photography|
At this point, we considered gathering initial papers for a second adoption while pursuing one more round of fertility treatment. Hopefully, at least one door would open, right? However, when it became clear that the round had also failed, we decided to stop treatment. I simply couldn’t handle trying another round; my heart was too fragile and utterly exhausted by disappointment.
In my grieving, I remember feeling as though Jesus said to me, “I want to give you more.” This honestly felt confusing. I remember coming home from church shortly after our final round had failed and sitting at my piano to try to process it all. Music has always been an important part of my life, but here’s the thing – I am no songwriter or some avid piano player, just someone who used to play piano as a little girl. But as I sat at my piano that day, Jesus gave me an entire song: the lyrics, the melody, all of it. Nothing like it had ever happened to me before. This song has proven incredibly cathartic to me over this past year, as if Jesus knew I would need these words ingrained in my heart for the months to come.
You say do not fear
‘Cause You’re already here
I don’t have to worry
And You say that You’re kind
That I can trust You here again
with my heart and all its pieces
Take off your armor
Let Me be your shield
Take off your worry
Let Me be your peace
Take off disappointment
I see you here
Take off despair
Let Me fill you again with joy
I’m not scared of your fears
I have bottled your tears
Hope won’t let you go
I am binding your wounds
I am making you new
I’m not finished with you
I am turning the page
I will show you the way
Trust Me, Trust Me here again
Time has not been lost
I’ve counted the cost
Trust Me, Trust Me here again
So I found You here
Just like You said I would
Looking back, I see Your story
Turns out, You were kind
Trading broken dreams for joy
You’ve always been faithful to me
Fast forward to March 2020. Brad and I went to Disney World with Floyd, along with Brad’s parents, a trip we will always treasure. Our final day there was Disney’s final day open before COVID shut everything down. As the world closed, and we returned home to quarantine, we began paperwork for a home study for adoption #2. Being stuck at home due to COVID turned out to be perfect for knocking out mountains of paperwork!
Our church has a prayer team who regularly spend time praying and listening to what God could be saying to our congregation. We believe that God from time to time will give a person what we term a “word,” often an actual word, message, or picture, that is meant to be a message for someone else. Of course as humans, we don’t always get these messages exactly right, but in grace we share and receive them and pray that God uses them as he sees fit. In our church, leadership would often share these “words” during service, but due to COVID, they had begun including them in our pastor’s weekly email to our congregation. On April 30th, I just happened to be reading through the prayer team’s “words” for that week when I came across this:
“I saw a young girl with curly red hair and freckles and a red dress. I think it is a picture from the childhood of someone that is now a grown woman. Life has been hard and seemingly unfair in so many ways. It’s time for great hope and expectation! The Lord is restoring your joy and innocence and completely washing away all guilt and shame. He calls you His Beloved Daughter and is restoring the years the locust have eaten. He will provide in very tangible and practical ways in your current situation.”
I read it a few times, trying to convince myself it wasn’t for me, but in my heart, I knew it was. Many of the scars I carry are related to wounds that happened when I was a little girl. People often called me Shirley Temple throughout my early childhood because I looked so much like her, and as you may remember, Shirley Temple always wore a red dress. I sent the prayer team’s words to my mom and sister. Immediately, they both responded, “Corinne, this is YOU!” Little did any of us know just how incredibly accurate this word would prove itself to be as the year went on.
Next week I’ll share the second half of this amazing story with you; the answers to the questions and the prayers and how God had been working this whole time behind the scenes to do something incredible. Be sure to check back for the rest of the story!