Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adoption Story: Brian and Amy

Brian and Amy have been on a wild ride.  They started their adoption journey almost four years ago and had planned to adopt internationally from Ethiopia. When adoptions slowed to a near standstill in Ethiopia, Brian and Amy decided to open their hearts to domestic adoption as well.

I met Amy and her beautiful daughter over coffee one morning last April. While Dakota colored, we chatted about her family's heart for adoption, their desire to step into spaces where parents were needed, and talked about if Christian Adoption Consultants might be a good fit for their family.

Several weeks later, they officially began with CAC and we began working together on creating their profile.

And three months later, in July, the unexpected happened. They received a phone call that a little girl needed a family.

Brian and I walked in to the hospital, with a thought that I might actually be able to guard my heart from potential heartache should anything go wrong or the adoption not get finalized.  I was wrong…I turned the corner to room where our baby was sleeping in the NICU, and I saw a little girl with wild crazy black hair just like mine when I was born, and she was mine.  My heart melted, and I now know that love has no boundaries, and whether from the womb, or 3 days old from another womb….it is pure unguarded love that I felt for our new daughter.  She was born on Friday night at home (don’t know the exact time), at the hospital she weighed 7 lbs 9 ozs, and is 20 inches long.  I will admit I feared it would feel different than when I gave birth to my first child…it might be, we are a little more vulnerable right now, because laws and lawyers or the system could come and decide she isn’t ours to keep. Until we are finalized there is that risk…but I realized something last night. No rain no rainbows…she is my child, and I love her with no reservation no matter what happens.

Amy wrote those words not knowing that that is exactly what would happen. In the weeks and months to come, incredible barriers to Zoey's adoption arose...

August Update:
A lot has changed in our world in the past few weeks. To put our world in to perspective think of 0.1%, or flip it to 99.9%. We have been told that our adoption situation falls in to the 0.1% of adoptions with unusual circumstances…those circumstances have turned many worlds upside down, and have left us in need of positivity, prayers, and emotional support. Since our last update, we found Zoey’s birth dad, and with that, a chain of events has occurred that has changed our world forever. See, in our hearts, Zoey is our daughter, but her birth dad did not find out about her until after she was placed with us. He is young, and currently not quite capable of taking care of himself, but loves her, and states he wants to have her and parent her.  

We have always felt that adoption should occur if no one in a biological family will, or can provide a loving, nurturing, environment where a child will thrive. So the circumstances of this situation have brought two worlds colliding into one another…and a lot of emotions, and love for this little girl are running high. I don’t want to share all of the details, other than adoption is broken, and messy, AND full of love. Our hope is that if everyone involved has the best interests of the child in mind, that although decisions will be difficult, Zoey will end up happy and healthy with the best chance at a well adjusted and positive life. A lot still has to happen before we will know the outcome, and everyday is a challenge. For now, we are Zoey’s parents, guardians, and care takers…and Brian, Dakota and I are making the most of our time with her, trying to focus on the blessings she has brought to our life, not the uncertainty of the future.  

Regardless of the outcome Zoey will always be our daughter in our hearts, and I am sure you can imagine, this is an emotional roller coaster ride like none we have been on.  

October Update:
I am typically an over-communicator, and a planner…but in this situation there is no way to plan, and no way to communicate without making assumptions that could turn out completely inaccurate...Here is what we know…Zoey is very healthy, and is now 3 months old….Dakota is an awesome big sister, and this incredibly complex an heart breaking situation has made us slow down, and truly live in the present…enjoying each and every moment as a family.

We had our first court date yesterday morning.  The intent was really to find out who would show up, and what next steps were. We knew going into court that dad had still not signed his consent to relinquish rights, and mom was still in a difficult position with her decision to relinquish. Please understand that we want to protect Zoey’s story, and so we will not share the intimate details of what is going on, or our opinions for why we intend to continue to parent Zoey other than to say that she is our daughter, and we love her so much. As her current legal guardians it is our responsibility to ensure that she is safe, loved, and in an environment in which she will thrive. We are taking that to heart in all of our decisions in court. There are no words to adequately describe the heartache involved for everyone in this situation. Court went as well as it could. Both of Zoey’s birth parents showed up, and we are waiting on more information from attorney’s, but our next court date is February 26th.  Zoey will be 7 months old.  At that time, if all is the same, we will be addressing birth mom’s concerns, and take it from there. We will likely have more court dates after that as well.  What we really need from our support system is ongoing love and support. We may not want to talk about the specifics, but we are in the thick of this, and incredibly vulnerable. If you are uncertain as to what to say or do, reaching out with an e-mail, text, VM, whatever, is so helpful in showing your support.  We know there is no advice or words that provide an immediate solution, our best support is in knowing that we are loved, prayed for, and thought of regardless.

On a lighter note, we truly are enjoying every moment. She is getting so big an has an equally big personality. She is sweet, smiles a lot (especially at her sister), has started giggling, and rolling over. She truly melts our hearts with her sweet disposition. Our family is in limbo, which is incredibly difficult, and the situation involves a lot of people who love our little girl a lot…intensifying the emotions on any given day.  Thanks again for your love and support, and we will send more updates soon.

The next few months I sat with Brian and Amy and drank coffee, prayed with them over the phone, and we spent hours working towards doing what was best for little Zoey. Through it all, I was amazed at their patience with the process, their wisdom handling tough issues, and grace for Zoey's birth parents. But even more than all of these things, I was in awe of their incredible faith in God; his sovereignty over the entire situation and their trust in God to do the best for their daughter.

February Update
We appreciate that it has been a very long time since our last update. Thank you for your patience, and understanding that sometimes it just easier to say nothing at all. We are so blessed to have so many people loving and supporting us, some of you with a lot of experience with adoption, and for some of you...we are your experience. We have been a bit quiet for two reasons. 1) keeping our support system off our emotional roller coaster keeps the support stronger when we need it. 2) Our primary focus is in the wellbeing of our daughter, and with that comes limiting information that concerns her story. She needs to have her own story as she grows up, and giving detailed updates of the up’s and down’s of our journey would open her story to the world before she is ready to embrace it. With all of that we want to say thank you. Thank you for your prayers, your love, support, and friendship. The past 6 months have been more than a journey, for us, they have been the most difficult, yet most totally awesome months of our lives, and despite a lot of doubts…we have AWESOME news…GOD is good and he answered our prayers…we received a FINALIZATION DATE for Zoey. Next Tuesday we will start a new journey as a family with no appointments with attorneys or court dates...on February 17th, Zoey officially becomes ours.

We are relieved, excited, over the top happy, and also sensitive and compassionate to the two people that brought us our little girl. We will never fully share those details, but are so happy that Zoey’s story will include a start in the world that was a bit bumpy, but full of love by so many people.  

From the first few days of Zoey's life, Brian and Amy knew they would always love her like their daughter but didn't know how the story would end. To say that Brian and Amy have been on a roller coaster would be an understatement. But to say that it hasn't been worth it would be way off. During the last few months they have prayed for their daughter's best, loved when it was incredibly risky, and trusted in a faithful God.

When Zoey is old enough to hear the beginnings of her story, I know it will include four incredible parents (her birth parents and adoptive parents) who made hard decisions for her good, a doting older sister who prayed that she would always stay, a community who loved her from the beginning, and a gracious God who worked those hard months for all of their good and his glory.

And that it was all worth it.

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