November is National Adoption Month. I think the best way to understand adoption is to hear the stories. To see the faces and know the names and feel the heartbeat of people all around us who have caught a glimpse of the glow.
Crazy story: I connected with Natalie online years ago after reading an article she wrote about orphan care — and then we realized we were both working in the same town, at the same company! She went on to get her master’s in social work and has spent her career investing in foster youth and connecting them with families. It has been a joy to see her + Dan pursue the adoption of twin boys from Central Africa. As they continue to wait, Natalie has stayed faithful and fixed her eyes on Jesus, even in the midst of repeated delays and disappointment. As Natalie + Dan wait for their boys, they’ve opened home to children in vulnerable situations through Safe Families. And you know what? She’ll probably read this and feel awkward, because she’s incredibly humble. She’s just the type of friend who emanates Christ’s love.
Hi, I’m Natalie. I’m married to Dan. Things you should know about us:
+ We got married 11 months after our first date. Dan was in his last year of med school, and I was in my last year of social work grad school.
+ Currently, Dan is in his first year of residency. He works in the ER departments of several hospitals in our city. I write home studies for foster and adoptive parents (and read a lot of blogs).
+ We really like exploring our city, playing Mario Kart, walking our crazy dog, and watching Parks & Recreation. (Have you seen it? So good.)
+ Our plan has always been to adopt as the main method of adding little ones (and not-so-little ones?) to our family. We planned to wait three years to do this. Because we’re poor and busy and because society seems to expect that of you?
+ God threw the best kind of wrench into our plans, and we began praying about the possibility of adopting two months into our marriage.
+ After much prayer and consideration, we were overjoyed to begin the adoption process in May 2012 at the ages of 24 and 25 with a low income and a lot of student debt. It is doable!
+ We requested one child, a boy or girl between birth and six months. Again, God had other plans. We are adopting twin 1.5-year-old boys from Central Africa!
+ These boys are the cutest. Theo is taller and heavier. He’s always smiling or giving mischievous glances at the camera. Elliot seems to be shy, and he likes to suck on his index and middle fingers. He looks so apprehensive in pictures by himself, but when they push Theo beside him, he smiles.
+ Unfortunately, we’ve hit a lot of delays recently as their birth country’s adoption process has grown and changed. We are far past the date we thought we’d have them in our arms. We tried to not hope and plan for a certain date, but we did.
+ We’ve had their referral for over a year now. They live in a foster home, and we are so grateful for how clearly loved and happy they are. We are gladly paying a monthly foster care fee which includes wages for the foster parents, diapers, and food. Because they’ve been in foster care longer than we expected, these expenses are adding up.
+ Additionally, we have one big agency payment and travel expenses. We have never let the money scare us. We trust God will provide this, as He has everything else.
+ We ache to meet these boys. But we have fought against making adoption an ultimate in our lives. It’s cliché but so true: Our identity is in Christ. Not in being waiting adoptive parents. And not in being the young couple that pursued adoption quickly.
Kayla has so graciously offered her blog as a platform for us to share our story and our needs. We’re rolling out some fundraising projects in the next two months, and we’d love to tell you about them as they come up. You can get to know us more here!