Jerry and Tiffany's family grew by two children in just eight months...but it wasn't at all how they expected it to happen. I'll let Tiffany share her story (as adapted from her blog Stuff and Things). It's a long one but too good not to share with all of the amazing details of God's work...
God likes to show off.
About this time last year my husband and I decided to pursue domestic infant adoption after several closed doors in the international adoption world. We had also completed all the requirements to adopt out of foster care through DHS, but we weren’t hearing anything from them either.
For our domestic adoption we chose to work with Christian Adoption Consultants. They helped us prepare our family profile book and also got us connected with adoption agencies and adoption lawyers all over the country. This was over a year after we first started on our second adoption process, but it felt good to be moving forward again in yet another new direction.
The way it works is this:
- Our consultant gets emails from agencies and lawyers whenever they have an expectant mom who wants to make an adoption plan. Generally these are situations for which the agency or lawyer does not already have waiting families.
- The consultant emails her waiting families and we decide if we want to have our profile presented to that particular mom.
- If we decide to present, we wait to hear whether or not the mom chooses us.
It’s an emotional process, but it’s exciting to know that you could be chosen at any time.
Unfortunately, after hearing no from several expectant moms, we were emotionally spent. It felt like another dead end.
The lifestyle of adoption is an unsettling one. You always wonder if there is another child out there that is meant to have your last name. We wondered if we had misheard God. We already had five children, so maybe we were done. Maybe we were supposed to be content with the kids we have and move on to the next chapter of our lives.
And then we got a phone call.
It was our DHS worker.
We have a 3-year-old boy who needs a home immediately. Are you interested?
Two days later, on a sunny day in May, she brought Sam to our house and he’s been our son ever since. It was a rough transition and sometimes I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into, but the rewards were great. Adoption is hard, but even in the low times it feels good to know that you are being the hands and feet of Jesus to a child who means so very much to our heavenly Father. Sammy needed us and we needed him.
At first we were still getting emails from our adoption consultant, but I emailed her to put our file on hold. We have a new child, I explained. I fully thought that Sam was our final kid. We had an even number again. Our brown son had a brown brother to match.
It was perfect.
And then we got another phone call.
It was a worker from one of the adoption agencies we were working with before we put our stuff on hold. They had an expectant mom due around Thanksgiving, and they wanted to show her our profile.
We’re on hold, remember.
Yes I know, but I thought you might be open to us showing your profile.
How many profiles are you showing her?
You’re it right now.
After much prayer we agreed to let them show our profile. If they truly didn’t have any other families for a healthy baby, this must be God’s plan for us. It just didn’t make sense otherwise. And if this was an elaborate way for God to test our obedience, we wanted to pass. Maybe she wouldn’t even choose us. She had time to wait for better options.
By the end of the day we heard that she did choose us to parent her baby. We started tentatively planning for another baby, knowing full well she could change her mind at any time. I talked to her on the phone a few times over the next few months, and she was a very sweet, smart woman. We had a good rapport, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this adoption was not going to happen. Now I know this was God’s sweet way of warning me not to get too attached.
I thought it was my imagination, but on the day she went into labor we got the call that she had, in fact, changed her mind.
We were sad, of course, but not surprised. And certainly not angry. I knew from our chats that if she had any chance to raise her son herself, she’d take it. When a formerly-estranged family member moved back to town and offered to help her, she finally had her chance.
The hardest part for me was that I was afraid this would be the last straw for my husband. We’d given adoption our best effort and it just wasn’t happening. I realized through this whole failed adoption that I really, truly wanted a newborn. Would he be willing to go through all this again?
We pressed forward with Sammy’s adoption. As soon as he had been in our home for six months, we filed the paperwork to finalize his adoption. On Saturday, November 22nd, one of our local churches arranged for a judge to come and finalize adoptions one after another as part of a National Adoption Day celebration. It was a wonderful experience. He was legally ours!
The next week was Thanksgiving. Although we had a joyful day with family, I couldn’t forget the fact that we should have had a new baby this Thanksgiving. It was hard. I still felt like I wanted more children, but that seemed like a long shot at this point.
While I prayed—working through my grief—I felt God say one thing very clearly. “This is not over.”
What’s not over? Our failed adoption? Adoption in general? I had no idea but I had hope that there would, indeed, be another stocking on our mantle soon.
Two weeks went by and my husband started to talk about adoption again. I emailed our consultant to say we would like to start getting emails again, and I called the adoption agency that we had been working with to let them know of our intentions. If we could work with the same agency, that would be ideal. We had already paid them some money that would roll over to a new adoption, and our lawyer had already started on our paperwork from that state.
I got an email back from the agency right away.
We have a new mom that just came in. If you are interested I’ll send you her information.
The paperwork looked good. No red flags. No notable issues. We decided to go for it, knowing there was a good chance she’d pick another family. On Monday morning I emailed to let the agency know we would like to be presented.
Great! We are showing her your profile this afternoon.
Already? Wow! That was quick.
Our profile book was ten months old, and in that time we had added a new son and moved to a new house. I emailed a few updated pictures, and at 2:00 our time they showed the expectant mom our profile.
At 3:00 we were on a FaceTime call with her.
At 3:30 the agency called to say she picked us.
She told me later that we were the first profile she looked at, but she didn’t feel the need to see any more. That’s how it works sometimes. Something will just click.
This process was vastly different than the one before. Although I was still cautious, I had peace that for whatever reason, this adoption was going to work out. I talked to her on the phone almost every week and we learned quite a bit about each other. I started trying to finish all the house projects on my to-do list, and as the due date of January 23rd grew closer, I went into a serious nesting phase. That didn’t happen before our failed adoption. Everything felt different this time.
I talked to our expectant mom on Wednesday, January 14th, after her weekly doctor’s appointment. Everything was fine. She was progressing slightly, but she didn’t feel like she was close to delivering. She was due a week and a half later and she planned to wait until then to ask her doctor about a possible induction. I was disappointed. I was hoping for a concrete date so we could make plans, but instead we had to be content to go with the flow. I told my friends and family that we were looking at late January for the baby to be born, and I settled in to wait.
I told my friends and family that we were looking at late January for the baby to be born.
Then we got a phone call.
How about today?
Our adoption worker was as surprised as we were to find out that our expectant mom went into labor on Thursday, January 15th, one day after she told me she felt like she still had a while to go. As they drove to the hospital, we rushed around making travel plans. There were no flights out that night, so the earliest we could leave was the next morning at 6 am. In the middle of laundry, packing, cleaning, calling in the grandparents for help, and figuring out the food situation for our kids while we were gone, we received periodic updates on the labor progress.
Our baby boy, Joshua Ronald, was born about 9:45 that evening (10:45 our time). The agency worker asked if we wanted her to text us a picture, or if we wanted to wait until the next day to see him. Of course I wanted to see a picture! It was your typical newborn, screaming, goopy-eyed, puffy picture, but he was healthy and strong. 6 pounds, 5 ounces, 19 inches long.
The next day we flew to Phoenix and drove straight to the hospital where our agency worker took us to meet our son’s birth mom, “Y.” It was wonderful to finally meet her in person! She was sitting with her adoption counselor, and I was grateful that we had all talked on the phone so many times. We already had a rapport and settled easily into conversation.
After we made sure she was doing well, it was time to meet our son!
We spent most of the day in the nursery holding our boy, but around dinner time our son’s birth father, “M,” came up to the hospital to be with Y. We brought the baby in to them so they could have some time alone and Jerry and I went to eat dinner.
After dinner we went back to spend time with M and Y and wound up hanging out with them for several hours. They were sweet, funny, and a joy to be around. Our adoption workers joined us and we had a delightful evening until it was time for Y to be released. We took plenty of pictures but I won’t share without their permission.
Joshua was set to be released the next day, so the hospital found us an empty room to stay in with him. We passed the time staring at our baby, watching tons of TV, and taking pictures.
Jerry went to the store the next morning to buy a car seat, and soon we were leaving the hospital with our teeny tiny son on our way to our hotel.
Arizona law states that parents cannot sign the paperwork to terminate their parental rights until 72 hours after the baby is born. Our precious birth parents and our precious agency workers stayed up late Sunday night so they could sign right after the 9:45 deadline. Joshua was officially ours!
Jerry flew back the day after consents were signed to be home with our other kids, and I hung out in Phoenix waiting for the okay to fly home myself. It’s kind of like an immigration thing. The sending state has to agree to let the baby leave the state, and the receiving state has to agree to let the baby in. This process could take weeks, but in our case both states completed their paperwork within a few hours of getting it. Monday was a holiday, but Arizona cleared us on Tuesday and Oklahoma cleared us on Wednesday.
Our oldest two were waiting up for us when Jerry brought me home and they were immediately smitten with their new baby brother. The other kids met him in the morning, and they were equally in love. Even little Sam, who hadn’t been in our family for very long, was thrilled to have a new baby. As I’m writing this it’s been 2 1/2 weeks since we came home and Sammy still lights up whenever he sees the baby. It’s an answer to prayer.
And that, my friends, is how we added two children to our family in only 8 months in the most round-about way I could imagine.
Looking back on this process, I’m struck by the way our unanswered prayers led to these two babies. It sounds cliché, but it’s true: Every “no” leads to God’s perfect plan for our lives. We don’t deserve God’s blessings, but He chooses to pour them out on us anyway. Someone left a comment on my last post about how our lives are like a puzzle but only God can see the box top. He knows how all the pieces are going to fit together even when all we see is a disjointed mess. Isn’t it amazing when we start to see some of those pieces come together in our lives? I still don’t know the full picture. I’m sure we have plenty of adventures left in our lives as we continue to follow God wherever he leads us.
You know what? I’m pretty excited about that.