December ended up being a pretty wild, amazing, unexpected ride. The week before Christmas, our beautiful daughter Eliza Marie was placed into our arms via adoption and our lives have been forever beautifully changed.
But before we get into that, here’s a bit of the back story that led us to our perfect girl:
We took a nontraditional adoption path. When we started this adoption, Jonny and I were on the same page. We really felt specifically led to adopt a child who was already waiting for a family. We did not sign on with a particular agency and instead pursued a home study with an independent social worker so we could be open to broader adoption situations. We were approved for ages up to four years old, multiple races, both genders, sibling groups, and special needs. Since God had already grown our family through transracial adoption, we felt more intentional about that for this adoption as well. We didn’t know what this adoption would look like, but we felt compelled to be open to what God had for us.
My sweet friend Courtney is an adoption consultant who is networked with multiple agencies, social workers, and attorneys across the country. I reached out to her about our heart for harder to place children and she agreed to let us know when she came across higher-need situations. I also joined Special Angels Adoptions, a nonprofit group for home-study ready families that helps connect willing families with special needs situations. We additionally submitted our home study to AdoptUsKids.org, a national registry of waiting children in the U.S. foster care system.
And then we waited. Any of you adoptive mamas know the reality of aching and waiting for a child, even if you don’t know who that child is. I kept delaying our Christmas cards, holding out hopes that kiddo #3 would be in our photo.
We prayed about, researched, and pursued a few adoption situations, including a infant waiting for months in the NICU, born heavily addicted to heroin. We learned much about the brokenness many children in foster care have to suffer when we sat in on interviews to find a family for a 4.5-year-old suffering from PTSD and attachment disorders. Our hearts were continually broken and re-broken as we saw firsthand the hurt in our world, inflicted on sweet little ones due to no fault of their own. Our hearts also grew for birth families, as we had a front-row seat to the trauma they have often endured as well. Adoption is a blessing, but oh, how it comes from so much loss.
Families come to adoption in many ways, and while some assume that infertility is the only reason, that is certainly not the case. For us, adoption was something God laid on our hearts as a young married couple before we thought to build our family in any other way. We are so grateful for the ability to grow our family through adoption and birth, and when we adopted Joseph and then decided to get pregnant, it sealed the deal for us that we would eventually have four children — one more biological child and at least one more via adoption.
This summer, as we continued to pray and wait for our little one via adoption, and as we dreamed of having a family with children close-ish together in age, we were so thrilled to find out God was giving us another little one via birth. As my bump grew, I felt mixed emotions — so thrilled to have a life growing inside me, but increasingly discouraged that our family was somehow still incomplete. I wrestled with God — did he really lead us to adopt a waiting child? Couldn’t we go a more traditional (faster) adoption route? What in the world was going on?
But as my kids love to sing, “God keeps his promises.”
And what he had in store for us was so much bigger and better than we could even fathom.
(To be continued)
I share about our adoption journey because we all have our “yes” in God’s Kingdom, and for family, it looked like intentionally walking the path of adoption. For you, it could look completely different. My hope is that by sharing our “yes”, you’re encouraged to dwell in God’s grace and be obedient in yours.
I’d love to hear what “yes” God is writing into your story.
[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]