Thursday, April 2, 2020

Not Your Typical Baby Shower: How to Prepare & Celebrate Well in Adoption

As with the birth of any child, there is much to celebrate in adoption! Any time a baby joins a family, we should celebrate new life and rally around the new parents with our support and excitement. Getting ready to welcome a child often comes with a lot of anticipation and joy as you prepare your home and share your news and plans with others.

But what if your child is joining your family through adoption? Should your preparations and celebrations look different? The short answer? Absolutely.

Parenting through adoption is no less special or important than becoming a parent through pregnancy. But becoming a parent through adoption is different than becoming a parent biologically. It's important not to erase these differences, but to acknowledge them and their impact on the choices you make. There are unique aspects to adoption that are critical to consider as you prepare:
  • Adoption includes a birth family; there are other people involved to acknowledge and consider as you plan and prepare for a baby to join your family.
  • Adoption involves loss; brokenness is at the beginning of adoption when a birth family, for whatever reason, decides they want another couple to raise their child.
  • Adoption is about finding families for babies, not babies for families; this can shift our perspective and the choices we make throughout the process.
  • Adoption is not final until consents are signed and finalized by a judge; this should impact plans, preparations, and heart postures.

In light of these important differences, here are some practical ways to honor the unique aspects of adoption while you prepare and celebrate:

Adoption Announcements
Like any parents, hopeful adoptive parents are eager to share the news of their growing family. This is a great way to not only update friends and family, but also include others in your journey. (I love these creative ways families I've worked with have announced their adoptions found here and here.) It's important to note that once you share your adoption plans, for many of your friends and family you will become an unofficial "adoption educator." In this new role, you have an incredible opportunity and responsibility to advocate for adoption; ensuring you use positive adoption language and extending grace as others learn about the process alongside you.

Match Announcements
An important step in the adoption journey is when a couple is officially "matched" with an expectant family. Most people prefer the term "chosen" since the expectant family has carefully chosen the hopeful adoptive family to parent their baby. When sharing the news that you've been chosen, it's important to communicate in a way that's open-handed and clear that adoption is the plan, but nothing is final until after the baby is born and necessary paperwork has been completed. This is also a great time to think of protecting the child's story. Very often, adoptive families regret all they shared at this stage and wish they had not disclosed private details, even to close friends and family. Remembering to guard the child and the expectant/birth family's story is critical, even in the beginning.

Gender Reveal
It's a current trend for couples to have some kind of a gender reveal party where they announce if they're expecting a boy or a girl. But as I've noted, adoption is not final until all paperwork has been signed. A gender reveal party easily communicates a finality and surety to the adoption plan that simply isn't the case prior to birth. 

Preparing Older Siblings
Just like anyone preparing for a new a baby to arrive, preparing your children for the arrival of a baby brother or sister is an important step for families. But talking about the complexities of adoption can be challenging, especially with little hearts trying to make sense of hard topics. One easy way to do this is to focus on the idea of preparing your home for a baby in case another family needs help. When the language shifts from a specific baby and timeframe to being ready in case there's a baby that needs a family, it can help communicate your family's desire to help a child versus find a child.

Setting up the Nursery
To prepare for your home study, most often the room for the baby doesn't have to be ready (and let's be honest; for most families the baby sleeps in the parents' room in a bassinet for the first few months anyway!). When couples ask me if there's a "right time" to set up the nursery, I always tell them to do what feels right for them. For some couples, the thought of walking by an empty nursery while waiting for a baby to arrive feels painful. But for others, the tasks of painting a baby's room, setting up a crib, and finding the coziest rocker is a practical way to prepare and dream of the child they will one day be caring for in that room. Just like couples who attend prenatal appointments and birth classes, setting up a nursery can be a way of getting ready for the birth of a baby. It's also wise to decorate in neutral tones to prepare for a boy or a girl.

Birth Announcements
In an age where it's easy to give updates within minutes, we see new parents posting news of a baby's birth within hours. There is a special sacredness to adoption and those first days and hours when a baby is born. Very often, this is a time when the mother (and possibly the father and their friends and family) have to spend with the baby. It's often full of immense emotions and critical for the hopeful adoptive family to take the birth family's lead as to what they want the hospital experience to look like. In light of this, it's wise to wait to share any news or pictures of the baby publicly until consents have been signed. Instead, focus your time in the hospital loving the birth family well; giving them the time and space they need.

Baby Showers
Every mother (or couple!) deserves a party celebrating the arrival of a new baby and adoption is no exception. The question for adoptive families is more about timing; when to have a baby shower. Sometimes the easiest way to celebrate with a baby shower is after the baby has been placed with the adoptive family (after consents are signed). Setting up a gender neutral registry of necessities while waiting for placement can also be helpful. Many families find that a baby shower after the baby has been home for several weeks is a great way to celebrate. They often have a better sense of what they need and it's a sweet time to have family and friends meet the new addition.

Finalization Day 
Many couples take the opportunity to celebrate the day the adoption is finalized in the courts and often mark that as a special anniversary yearly in their family. Some families also call this "Family  Day" or "Adoption Day" (the phrase "Gotcha Day" has historically been used but generally has a negative connotation now since it can imply some kind of ownership.) This can be bittersweet, especially for the child as it not only marks a celebration of a new family, but also the separation from the birth family. Using sensitivity, especially as the child grows, to their feelings around this day will be helpful as you navigate how to/if you will mark this occasion in your family.

Clearly there's much to celebrate and consider when adopting a child. Here's some final questions that might be helpful to ask as you think about how to honor adoption and the entire adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parents, and birth parents) when it comes to preparations and celebrations:
  • Does this honor the expectant/birth family?
  • Does this put unnecessary pressure or expectation on an expectant family?
  • Does this acknowledge the plan of adoption (vs. assuming something is sure)?
  • Does this feel too premature: could we put this off until later when the time might be more fitting?
  • Does this consider protecting the child's story that is theirs alone to tell?

Before a baby is placed with you, your focus and top priority should be on educating yourself, preparing for parenthood, and taking every opportunity to love the expectant and birth family well. There will be years to celebrate your child and the joys of parenting. Waiting a few short months to celebrate well and at the right time is a beautiful way to honor your child, their birth family, and the choice you've made to grow your family through adoption.

In the end, that kind of preparation and celebration is worth it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Adoption in Uncertain Times

There's no avoiding we're living in uncertain times. With the outbreak of COVID-19, our daily lives have all been personally impacted in a way I don't think any of us were anticipating just two weeks ago. Our metropolitan area is currently under stay at home orders for thirty days and our schools have switched to e-learning for the rest of the school year. And very slowly, I'm learning of people I know personally who have the virus. Although I'm used to working remotely, my husband is currently working out of our master suite and we're preparing our breakfast nook for home schooling activities starting Monday. The news changes daily with new precautions, broader restrictions, and rising numbers of people infected.

As an adoption consultant, I'm fielding a lot of questions about the impact of the caronavirus on the adoption process. Are adoptions still happening? Are adoption agencies still running? We've always thought about adoption but is now the time to dive in?

Here are a few things we know for sure:

There is still a need
Unlike some things in our economy that grind to a halt with social distancing and stay at home orders, there are still mamas having babies. There are still birth families making adoption plans for their children. There are still expectant moms in need of support and counsel and care as they decide what is best moving forward. No matter what's happening with a pandemic or our economy, there are still women (and men) who need people walking closely with them. The agencies and attorneys we work with across the country are still just as committed today as they were last month to ensuring they provide this kind of care to birth and expectant families. We know, just like every other area of our lives, logistics will look different when it comes to the details of adoption. But just this month, four of my families have been chosen by expectant families and four babies have been born and placed into their adoptive parents' arms. 

There is still life to be lived
We're all getting used to living a "new normal." In our home we're setting up new rhythms and routines to get through this season. There are some things we're pressing pause on which has freed up time we've literally never had before. The time this space has opened up can be used to move forward on an adoption plan in ways you haven't had time for before. Completing home study paperwork, filling out adoption grant applications, creating a beautiful profile for expectant parents to read, and praying for the baby that might be placed with you and their birth family. How can you dream with your spouse about growing your family? Or prepare your children for another sibling? Are there ways you're preparing (connecting with others, trainings, books) to be an adoptive family? There is still so much that can be accomplished in the adoption process in the midst of life right now!

There is still a God in control 
God's plans for the world and for your family can't be thwarted. His perfect plans for building families can't be delayed or canceled. We can move forward with confidence in His constant care and provision for us. Jesus reminds us that today has enough worry of its own (Matthew 6:34) and has promised us grace for the day. We can rest in his faithfulness and goodness that remains unchanged in these constantly changing times. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). God is still caring for people; including hopeful adoptive families and expectant and birth families in the midst of all of this.

So how to we move forward with all of the uncertainty? Although the stability of things around us seem to be changing at a frenetic pace, we know we can rest in the truth of Lamentations 21:22-24:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Friday, February 28, 2020

Adoption Story: John and Lindsey

Sometimes adoption is a long road. And sometimes adoption can be more of a whirlwind. That was the case with John and Lindsey who started the adoption process in July and by Christmas had their daughter in their arms. Although it was quick, it wasn't easy. I'm thankful that Lindsey so openly shares the story of their daughter's beginnings and their commitment to God's plan, no matter how it was going to turn out...

As soon and John and I were engaged, we sat down and talked about children and what we wanted our family to look like. From the beginning, God placed adoption heavy in our hearts. Two years into our marriage, we decided we wanted to start our family. After a year of trying we decided proceed with infertility treatments to hopefully start growing our family. Sadly we lost a baby through miscarriage in May of 2019.

A month later John brought up the topic of growing our family through adoption. I was still mourning the loss of our baby, but I spent the next month praying. By July, my prayer became, "God, whatever your plan is for our family, I'm ready." 

That same month, I got in touch with Susan from Christian Adoption Consultants. We started the process mid-July, completed our home study, and our profile was active at the beginning of October; it was a whirlwind. We presented to three situations but none of them panned out. Then, the week of Thanksgiving, we got the call we had been waiting for. We had been matched with an expectant mother who was due in just six weeks! We began preparing a nursery in a hurry.

The end of the expectant moms' pregnancy was going as expected and just a few weeks later, on December 17th, we received an email update about her prenatal appointment. All was well and she was scheduled for another routine appointment the next week. But it was just two hours later that we received the phone call that mama was in labor! The rest of that day was spent packing, traveling, and praying for mama and baby.

When we arrived the next morning, we heard the update that the sweet baby had been born, but the birth mother was unsure of her adoption plans and was rethinking what was best for both of them. Our hearts sunk, but when we heard she still wanted to meet us we were eager to connect with her. We didn't get a chance to meet the baby at that time, but we spent time with her amazing mama who was so sweet and kind. She was apologetic about the adoption plan and we said goodbye, not knowing how the story would end. 

We checked into a hotel and wrestled with the possibility of returning home without a baby. I can remember taking a shower and crying. During my cries to God, I remember praying, "I know we are going to be okay and no matter what happens, this isn’t going to define us as people." We clung to Psalm 3:3, "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." 

Our day was filled with fitful sleep and lots of tears and prayers. I finally decided to take a walk on the beach. I can remember walking and hearing the ocean waves and how soothing it was. I sat down overlooking the ocean and prayed again, asking God to be near to us, and the birth mother, and direct the outcome according to what was best. After that prayer, my heart was finally at ease, knowing God would take care of all of us, not matter what.

When I retuned to the room, we received a phone call that the birth mother had decided that adoption was the best decision for her and the baby. We returned to the hospital and had the opportunity to meet our daughter for the first time. Over the next 24 hours, we had the chance to visit more with her birth mother who kept the baby in her room until she was discharged. We're so thankful she was able to take all the time she wanted and made a decision she can be confident in. The moment she placed her daughter into our arms, we were filled with such joy and heartbreak all at once, knowing she was saying goodbye. 

Later that day we introduced our daughter, Cora Lynn, to our family and friends with overwhelming gratitude to God. I'm writing this story as I'm holding our little girl now, with that same gratitude for the journey God brought us on. God has been so good.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Adoption Story: Jon and Kathy

I remember when I first talked to Kathy. It was evident within minutes the huge heart she and Jon have for their family and for children. They were in the midst of finalizing their adoption of three children: making them a family of ten! But Kathy had a sense that their family was not complete. And more than that: she had a deep sense that they needed to prepare their home quickly. It was just weeks after they officially became a family of ten that they became a family of eleven. And I learned Jon and Kathy don't just have huge hearts for children, they are also committed to love and embrace a birth family. Today Kathy shares their whirlwind adoption and God's sovereignty over it all.

It’s been a whirlwind of an adoption year for our family! Our first adoption was thirteen years ago when a sweet little newborn landed in our laps in the process of working with the homeless outreach program in our church. Though Matthew’s adoption journey has been very different from our other four adoptions, it was his adoption that God used to spur us on to welcoming more children into our hearts and home in this last year! Our next three adoptions came after our sweet little sibling group of three spent almost 800 days in the foster care system. But they became our forever children in August of 2019. 

And then, in September, 2019, a month later, we became home study approved and began presenting to expectant mothers. We knew this adoption would be different from the start. Our family was not only going to be on the receiving end of a miracle bundle of joy, we also were waiting with bated breath for an expectant mother to choose us to love and adore her child for a life time. What we learned in this process was that the hand of God was so strong and sovereign. He lined up every single detail and didn’t leave one thing undone. He caused our hearts to begin praying for our baby’s mommy long before we even knew her name. We covered her in prayer as we sensed her intense emotions over her decision to make an adoption plan. And we covered her in prayer the day we knew she was choosing a forever family for her baby. 

When the email came through on a Saturday, the subject line of the mail said “URGENT.” Immediately my heart stirred, "Spirit-bumps" covered both arms, and I felt an overwhelming desire to know more. In this process, we sensed God was going to move fast and ask us to step up to love a child that “urgently” needed a forever home. So with this sense of urgency, I called the caseworker. She gave me some more details and I remember sitting at my computer to write her a letter and pouring my heart out to her. I know I prayed. I know I cried. I know I wondered if this baby could be our son? And on Sunday, the birth mother began the arduous task of going through family profiles. She began this journey at noon, with her baby only 48 hours old, knowing she would be walking out of the hospital that day, empty handed, but a heart filled with love and sacrifice. At 1:30, my cell phone rang with a Florida number. It was the caseworker asking us if we were ready to be parents to child number 9! Shocked, excited, overwhelmed and overcome with emotion, I asked, as humbly as I could, with tears in my eyes, “she picked us!?”  And yes, she picked us! Our crazy big family drew her in! We packed up the family and headed to Florida. 

We joyfully, gratefully, and amazingly held our sweet five pound baby boy the very next day. Max was born 7 weeks premature. We spent the next 6 weeks with him in the NICU; bonding and growing together as a family. One of the most amazing experiences was meeting his birth mother two weeks after he was born. She came back to the hospital and sat with me and Max for almost 5 hours. We talked and shared life stories as if we had known each other for years. God knew. He connected our heart strings together and caused us to love each other even when we first met because He knew we would love a baby boy together for the rest of our lives. 

In this adoption journey, I have come to realize the sacrifice a birth mother makes. I have such a beautiful respect for her and for her choice to put him first and herself second. During my stay in the NICU with Max, a nurse told me she didn’t think his birth mom would follow through with the adoption plan. I asked her why. and she simply said, “because she came to visit him all the time and hold him all the time in the 48 hours she was here.” I smiled at that nurse and I simply said, “How great for him to be loved so deeply by two mommies.” 

To anyone beginning this adoption journey, or anyone still on it, I would encourage you to keep the faith, to pray, trust, and wait…and remember the words Susan told me, “God won’t let you miss your baby.” You will be holding your son or daughter soon; God already has the plan in place. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Adoption Story: Matthew and Heidi

How do you sum up how you became a family? How do you share the amazing ways God moved Heaven and Earth to accomplish His purposes? How do you begin to put words to the years of prayers and paperwork and plans to add a child to your home? 

When Heidi called me around this time last year, she was right in the middle of their story. Wondering what the end would look like and who God would add to their family. Matthew and Heidi were in the midst of rerouting their plans for international adoption and wondering what God had in store. Today Heidi tries to put all of it into words: the twists and turns, heartbreak and tears, prayers and praise. I'm so thankful Heidi shares so candidly about their journey to their daughter and the hope they were able to cling to in the midst of it all.

When I sit down to write about this testimony, my mind wanders to all the “beginnings” of our adoption journey. Do I begin when I was in college and first felt a stirring to adopt? Do I begin 10 years ago when God spoke into my heart again to adopt? How about when we began and privately met a woman looking to adopt and she chose us but changed her mind three weeks before her due date? Perhaps it’s the Ethiopia program we began but then started seeing corruption and chose to bow out? Maybe I should talk about the secondary infertility and my miscarriage? I could share about my many travels to Malawi, Africa and spending months with a little boy I was sure God was going to bring home to us at that time. Or how about the other little boy in Malawi that I went to the orphanage to pick up and social affairs kept saying, “Just take him” while the orphanage director was yelling at me that I was corrupt so I walked out, hoping to return, but was never allowed? Or the situation where a friend of a friend asked for me to discuss adoption with a birth mom who wanted to adopt privately and one block from her house called me and said, “Never mind.” 

I could talk about the beauty of sacrifice and how God told me not to cut my hair until my adoption was complete so I didn’t for seven years. As my hair grew longer and longer, it was a daily reminder of holding onto the Lord and sacrifice in the face of the unknown. And then how He told me the sacrifice was in my heart and the hair was only there if I needed a physical reminder so I cut it off.  

I could talk about how I danced through the darkest times and chose to worship God with every fiber of my being until sweat poured out, and I would lay prostrate before Him, giving of myself and my life.  

I could tell you how important my friends and family have been. How thousands of prayers have been sent to heaven to get us to where we are now.  

I could talk to you about death and letting my owns hopes, dreams, and desires die so my flesh would die and God’s perfect plan could spring forth. I could talk about the beauty of holding so tightly to the Lord that His perfect plan for my life is the only thing I desire, even if it only looks like sacrifice and I never get to cross into the Promised Land.  

I could tell you how my other children were on this journey with us. How difficult it was to hold onto hope. How many times my son would say growing up that he just wished he had a brother and that Chisomo could come home. And I would cry. I would cry out to the Lord, asking Him to hear the cry of my son’s heart.  

I could tell you how difficult it was to see my little son sitting in the back of our minivan in the review mirror. The minivan we bought when he was born because our hearts were so ready to fill it with all the children we wanted. And how I had to get something smaller so it didn’t feel so sad.  

I could share the humor I see in my own unexpected pregnancy at age 17 and how I chose to parent, ten years later had my son, and now ten years later another newborn. And how my body held onto the trauma of the last tens years with 50 pounds of weight and last week the Lord told me, “It’s time to lose the baby weight,” so now I’m on a journey to do just that.  

And I could tell you how God told us to adopt domestically and how all I could see was the older children that needed homes and again I had to lay my plan down and follow the Lord. And how through it all I knew it could end up like it had so many times before. Sacrifice alone. But how we stepped toward it anyway.  

And I could tell you that God showed us Christian Adoption Consultants five years ago, but we never felt the release to move toward domestic adoption until last year.  

I could share how fear and control would try to creep in, but we continually laid down the outcome before the Lord and let Him be in control.  

And I could share how I spent the last seven years doing ministry with people healing their hearts and how the best way to heal your own heart is to pour out to others.  

I could talk to you about each and every situation that came through our email and how we would pray for them. We would pray that if there was any way this pregnant woman could encounter the Lord, find healing and support and parent her child, to bring that into order, Lord.  We would pray for the adoptive families God was aligning. We would continually sacrifice our own hearts for God’s will. Our desire was for His perfect plan to come forward, and we were blessed we got to be a tiny part of it.  

Or I could tell you how the very day an agency received our paperwork they called with a situation that ended up becoming Our Situation; our daughter. And how we were home study approved (this time) in June and our daughter was born October 29th, 2019. I could tell you the joy in having our family together, our daughter from college flying to Florida and our 11-year-old son coming too.  How we marveled at God’s goodness in the face of our sweet Eleanor.  

I could share how my best friends put her nursery together while we were away and how loved I feel every day as I sit and rock her in there.  

And I could tell you how I had to pause in writing this because my sweet Eleanor woke up. And how she smiled and giggled when I looked down at her. I could tell you how I think of her first mom in these moments and I pray for her and hope she’s doing okay.  

But what I really want to tell you is there is HOPE. And not just hope to see your happy ending. But hope that God has the BEST plans for you and your family. He sees you. He knows you. His desire is that you get to be exactly who He created you to be. And the journey is how we get there. And there is a web of connectedness with those around us through this journey. We cannot see how everything is intertwined, but we can trust. So trust in the One Who sees it all. His plans are good. And He knows what’s best for you. 

So lay down your plans and find joy in the sacrifice. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Adoption Story: Josh and Laura

"We tried again and lost a fourth baby over Christmas..." Josh and Laura had dreams of building a family, but could't imagine what was in store for them when they got married. Today Laura shares how faithfully and powerfully God showed up, right in the midst of their brokenness, and invited them into new dreams.

Before we got married, Josh told me that he wanted kids from all over the world - with multiple skin colors to be in our family; just like Heaven will be. I’d never really thought much about adoption, but I didn’t have anything against it. But what I really wanted were kids who “had their daddy’s smile” or “their momma’s eyes.” 

Several years into our marriage, we started trying to have kids and within a year and a half, lost three babies in early miscarriage. One was ectopic and I almost lost my life as well. Those years were hard. Friends having babies. Going to baby showers. Begging God for “our turn.” Trying to figure out what He was trying to teach us. 

After the third miscarriage, we learned of some genetic factors that were likely playing into my body not carrying the babies. We found an awesome doctor and went to work making big lifestyle changes to get healthy so that we could reach our dream of having kids. Two years later, we tried again and lost our fourth baby over Christmas. At that point, we were both done. We were angry. We were confused. And we were in desperate need of healing. 

God used the loss of our last baby to finally stop me in my tracks of trying to achieve my dream of having kids, and I was finally coming to Him broken asking, “God, what do you want to show me?” Josh didn’t realize it, but he’d built a wall between himself and God and felt like God had really messed things up. Josh felt like he had to step in and fix the mess. God, in His kindness, knew that the wall needed to come down. 

We didn’t know how to get there, but we knew we needed healing. I was begging God for it.

God used multiple people in our lives that year to bring that healing to our hearts. Showing us that our four babies in Heaven had a purpose even though they’d never taken a breath. Showing us that even though He allows us to experience deep pain, it’s pain that He knows. And He meets us there in deep ways where we experience the sweetness of His presence. It doesn’t make it easy, but it gives meaning to the pain and shows you the great worth of Jesus. 

The Fall after our last miscarriage, we knew we wanted to adopt, but life was really busy. I decided to ask God to show us when it was time to start the process by having someone give us money. We weren’t fundraising at that point, and I didn’t care what the amount was; $10 would have sufficed! But I knew we needed direction from Him. 

That December, God blew our minds. In a matter of two days, we were given $7,000. Talk about a sign! There were so many happy tears! And we knew that it was clearly time for us to sign up with Christian Adoption Consultants. So, we contacted Susan and began the paperwork journey. In April, we started receiving situations and said yes to multiple expectant moms. That was such an emotional rollercoaster. In August, after waiting two weeks for an expectant mama to decide and then hearing that she chose another family, I began asking God to have our “yes” come soon. I wasn’t sure my heart could take more “not yets.” 

September 12 was the day our lives changed. We were meeting with a mortgage broker getting the paperwork in order to buy a home when we got a call from Susan. Our meeting was close to being finished, so we didn’t answer. But we knew something was up after we both had missed calls and texts from her. I called as soon as we were in the car and she told us that the last agency we had applied with had done something unusual. They had decided to keep our family profile and had shown it to an expectant mama without telling us. She had fallen in love with our family, was currently in labor in Dallas, and wanted us to be there to cut the cord. Could we go? I was balling on the phone with Susan asking her to tell me what we needed to do next. Of course we would go! 

Josh works at our church, so we stopped by to get his computer on our way home. Our pastor booked flights for us to leave that evening, and so many others went into action to help us as well. It was so surreal. We got the first picture of our baby girl as we were walking through security at the airport. We made it to Dallas and found a hotel by 2am. The next morning we got to meet this sweet birth mama and baby girl. We had prayed for an open relationship with the birth mom, and we had such a good time connecting with her that day. We had picked out names on the plane ride once we knew it was a girl, but we couldn’t decide on Rae or Quinn for her middle name. Her birth mama didn’t have a name picked out, so we chose her name, Anora Rae with her. She liked both Rae and Quinn, so we all decided on Anora Rae as her first name and Quinn as her middle. It was really special to get to decide on her name together. 

Our first few months with Anora Rae felt like a whirlwind. But she’s been such a sweet blessing. Fifteen months later we still can’t believe how good a gift she is! God has been so faithful to answer prayer… from little things like a baby who likes to cuddle to huge things like how He’s provided financially. He has been abundantly faithful and shown us over and over again that He is a tender, loving Father who is worth following. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Adoption Story: Kyle and Abby

Kyle and Abby started working with me through Christian Adoption Consultants last November. It was the end of January when their home study was ready, and then, almost nine months to the day later, their son was born. Sweet Boaz was a very welcome addition, making their family of four a family of five. Today Abby shares their journey, and specifically those that came alongside in unexpected ways.

By the grace of God alone, I write our story (one handed) while nursing our now six week old son, Boaz. Seven weeks ago our family was where perhaps many of you reading are today. We were presenting to so many expectant mamas we had sort of lost track of how many it had been, receiving so many ‘not yets’ that it felt like no one would ever say ‘yes,’ questioning if God really had adoption for our family or if it was just a pipe dream, a desire that we might have to give up. 

It was a Thursday morning we were notified that we matched, and the baby was due the following Tuesday. I cannot even articulate the emotions…it was something along the lines of the best Christmas morning of our lives meets a car crash. We told our family and friends and we were so hopeful, yet scared to invest our whole hearts yet. What if the expectant mom changed her mind? On Monday we received notification that the baby had been born on Saturday and the birth mom would be discharged that day. We rushed to buy plane tickets, throw together our suitcases, kiss our older two kids goodbye and head to the airport. That Monday night at about 11:30, we were led into the hospital nursery. When we turned the corner, we saw a nurse holding a beautiful baby with a full head of dark, curly hair and I just knew that one was ours. She smiled, said “Congratulations!” handed him to me, and I immediately had all these thoughts… is he really, truly ours? Can I really give my whole heart to him like I long to do? And he was ours and he is ours, but in the moment all felt so uncertain and new. We cuddled our Boaz in the dark, back corner of the baby nursery, surrounded by mounds of formula and diapers for hours. That’s where we met our son. 

The next morning our lawyer came to the hospital and we signed papers over coffee, and he told us things that will make him special to our family for the rest of our lives, even if he doesn’t know it. We soaked up every word that both the nurses and the lawyer told us about Boaz’s birth parents, tucking it all away to share with him as he grows.  Honestly, this was the sweetest of times - holding our son while trying to glean what we could about where he came from, even though it was from people who only sort of knew. 

We spent much of our ICPC wait on the beach (no regrets there) but the best part of our wait was the church that we visited while we were there. You see, we longed for the body of Christ in the midst of this major life event, and our local body was states and states away. When we walked in that Sunday morning, we were struck by the shear amount of multiracial families, many of them by adoption. Upon arrival, we were immediately spotted and loved by these people, and they just knew. They knew we were alone there in Florida and needing to hear the Word preached and partake in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The sermon was on the final verse of 2 Corinthians, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” and in God’s sweet providence, He ordained that many of the words that pastor spoke were the very things I had been meditating on as we drove to church, and I just cried at the sweet gifts both around us and in our arms. Many stayed long after the service ended to talk with us and love us, and we received not one, but two invitations to dinner while we were in town. This is the body of Christ.

Since we have been home, we have been completely and totally overwhelmed by the amount of love and support from our families, church family, and friends. What a joy it is to do life with these people who tell us that we don’t have to do it all alone – and then they back it up with action! We are in the family of God and these people will and have already helped us raise not just Boaz, but Flora and Leo as well. That’s where you find us now, tired, happy, a little bit of a mess, thankful, and surrounded by the love of God through His people. 

As you, dear reader, may be one of those still waiting to hear that coveted ‘yes,’ we urge you, rest continually in our Sovereign Savior King. He will work out your story according to His good pleasure. There will be trials and there will be joys, but His story is infinitely better than any you or I could ever write. 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

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