It would be easy to think that Daniel and Andrea had all the cards stacked against them. With Andrea's Cystic Fibrosis and moving often in their young marriage because of Daniel's job in the Air Force, this couple was used to facing challenges. After several years of struggling with infertility, Daniel and Andrea knew that adoption was how God wanted to grow their family. They started with Christian Adoption Consultants and continued to pray that God would be faithful to their little family like He always had been in the past. And that's when the miracles started happening. It would be just six months later that their daughter would be in their arms. I'll let Andrea tell you their amazing story...
I can't believe that I'm sitting here writing out our adoption story. It's so surreal! All those months of reading everyone else's stories and seeing their pictures...I started to feel like it may never be us. I'll start at the beginning of me and my husband Daniel's love story. We met as teens at youth group and were friends for many years, keeping in contact through each of us moving across the country from each other. I honestly never thought we'd see each other again, but that's the beauty in God's pre-written stories for our lives. We rarely see the outcome coming until it hits! We got married at 22 with so many hopes and dreams for our future together. Our first few years of marriage were difficult due to the Air Force moving us 5 times in 3 years, all the while hoping and praying for a miracle baby from God.
I was born with Cystic Fibrosis and it was a miracle for me just to live past my teens, let alone been able to get married and try for a child. I have almost died 3 times in my life, but always knew God must have had plans for me to still be here! After 3 years of trying and no success, we sought out a fertility doctor and started the monotonous testing and procedures. Physically and emotionally it took such a toll on my body, but I kept praying to have the chance to be a Mama. Sometimes the hardest things to understand in life is why things don't go according to OUR desires. I desired a biological child. So did my husband, because in his own words "if something ever happens to you, I want a piece of you left on this earth." After 3 rounds of IUI's we finally got to see what so many take for granted: those 2 pink lines! Words cannot explain our happiness that after years of prayers and hard work, it had paid off! But not long into the pregnancy, I miscarried two days before my husband was to deploy for 3 months. Those 3 months apart were the hardest months of my life! Not only were we grieving our loss, but we were having to grieve it alone.
A few weeks into his deployment, we decided God had shut the door for conceiving biologically and adoption was where God was leading us. TWO DAYS after Daniel posted our GoFundMe page, I had a friend contact me because her husband is a local artist in my home town and he just so happened to want to do a fundraiser for an adopting couple! In that moment, after feeling like we were swimming against the stream for so many years, I finally felt at peace that we were exactly where God wanted us. The fundraiser went great! It's amazing to feel love and support from not only friends and family, but strangers! We were home study approved in June and as the months went by, I tried to stay as busy as I could, but I felt myself getting discouraged. We presented to 11 birth mom's, and each "no" hurt worse than the pone before.
From day one of our adoption process I prayed 3 things: 1) please Lord cover our baby with protection and healing 2) Let us have our baby by Christmas (it was when I was due with our baby) and 3) once we are matched, no back outs. Let me tell you, God not only answered one of those, he answered all 3. The first week of November we got a situation of a birth mom due in a few weeks. I know this may sound silly, but after we prayed over it and decided while there were some definite risks, we would present, this one felt COMPLETELY different than all the previous 10 we presented to. I felt this instant connection to this child and I went into our nursery, got on my knees, grabbed the crib and started begging God that this one be it. I prayed so fervently for days just repeating myself over and over to God, giving him my fears and asking him to wrap this child in his arms and keep her safe. The day before our 4 year anniversary I got the call! I was in shock that I heard the word "yes" finally! We did a conference call with the birth mom and planned to meet for lunch the next week.
God truly opened my eyes to the fact that each one of these birth mom’s are his children too. Most of them are in bad positions in life, hurting and going through things we can’t even fathom. It’s so easy to judge and think it selfish of a woman who would do drugs/drink/smoke during pregnancy, but it takes a selfless person to know their baby deserves a better life than what they can provide and to choose to give that child to someone else to raise. God taught me so much through all of this, but mostly he taught me that maybe through adoption, we can reach people we never would have had to opportunity to reach otherwise. Like our child’s birth mom for instance. The first time that we spoke to her on the phone, she started crying and that made it seem so much more real. She was a real person who was hurting. I pray every day for God to show me how to be loving and caring to her the way that Christ would be.
When we started this, I was so opposed to having an open adoption. In fact, a few times that is one thing that kept me from wanting to present. The whole thing made me feel uncomfortable. But I felt God changing my heart as time went on and I realized that we aren’t supposed to be comfortable in life, God calls us to be uncomfortable. Most of us want a life that we can have total control over and a life that doesn’t involve suffering, but if we have that, when would we run and seek out God? Romans 8:28 says “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to his purpose.” But “all things” doesn’t just refer to happy days. They include the tough and lonely ones, the ones full of big questions.
The morning we were supposed to meet for lunch we got a call that she was in labor and we rushed to the hospital to meet our miracle! When we got there, the social worker met up with us as we waited in the waiting room to go meet our daughter. She asked "So, have you picked a name yet?" I replied "yes, but does she have a name she likes?" I'll never forget the response: "Yes, she likes the name Ava." I started bawling, overwhelmed with the sense that God cared enough to give me a sign of just how planned this all was! Ava was the name we had chosen months before if we were blessed with a daughter. I had asked God from day one of starting the adoption process for a sign that this is what he wanted for us. There was my sign! He orchestrated every single perfectly messy detail to get us to this exact moment. He's a good, good father! We walked into the birth mom's room and saw our Ava for the first time. It was the most emotionally raw moment of our lives! Holding this teeny 5 pound 2 ounce beautiful baby girl made every tear shed, every "why God?" every lonely sleepless night so worth it. I feel that God used these last few years to mold us into who he needed us to be.