Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Adoption Story: Justin and Shawnna

Justin and Shawnna knew years ago adoption would be a part of their family...

Early on in our marriage we talked about our desire to have a uniquely beautiful and diverse family through adoption. This desire deepened when we started trying to conceive. Shawnna had a difficult time sustaining a healthy pregnancy, suffering two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. We started speaking with adoption agencies in the midst of our loss, but we didn’t have peace about pursuing adoption at that time. We received a clear word from the Lord that we would have a biological child, despite our doctor telling us the only way to prevent another ectopic pregnancy was through in vitro fertilization, which was an option we didn’t feel was right for us. We were finally blessed with our beautiful daughter, Mya, in God’s perfect timing. We are ready to grow our family again and we know in our hearts that adoption is the next step. God has given us the desire to adopt and he’s softened our hearts for domestic adoption, specifically. 

Fast forward when Justin and Shawnna officially began with Christian Adoption Consultants and working to obtain their home study. Last September, in 2015, they were matched with an expectant mother and anticipated bringing home a baby during the holidays. But that day never came after she decided to parent. Shawna shared about their failed adoption... 

I was his mom for a day. And he was my son... Despite all this, we fully believe and trust that God will use this tragedy for good because He works all things for good. Right now it’s hard to see and even believe, but we know it’s the truth. God is always good. And, even through our loss, I also still believe that adoption is beautiful. But it is also bittersweet, messy, and hard. We are trusting God as he writes each page of our family story, and we know one day be complete and beautiful. Until then, Justin and I are taking our time to grieve and find peace as we lean into Him and each other. God has met us in our grief and held us close.

Fast forward to this past September. One year later God wrote the rest of the story...

It was a Wednesday afternoon in mid September and I received a call from an adoption agency in Texas. They needed to know within an hour if we wanted to present our family profile to an expectant mom scheduled to be induced the next day. I quickly called Justin and we reviewed the limited information. There were a few particulars that seemed risky, but when we saw a picture of this expectant mom, we both felt in our hearts to say yes to her and to her baby boy. The next day the agency called back to say the expectant mom chose our family! I was honestly shocked. In just a couple hours our son was born.

The following 48 hours were a blur of activity as we made tentative plans, while praying this was God’s will for our family. We decided to keep this information in a very tight circle of praying friends.  Just two weeks prior to this, we had a very similar situation that failed. We had involved our families and other friends in the planning only to be disappointed again. This time, we decided to keep the details private and pray, pray, pray.

We found out late Saturday night that birth mom had signed consent. We bought plane tickets to fly out early the next morning. We booked our car rental and hotel just hours before we arrived. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, the caseworker brought us our son, Xavier James. I took one look at him and wept, so overwhelmed by the goodness of God.

Xavier’s birth mom was eager to meet us, so after cuddling our sweet boy for a couple hours, we went to see her. She is amazing, and we have an indescribable amount of gratitude towards her. Though we don’t know her well yet, we love her deeply through the incredible bond we share: our son. Her son, our son. We sat side by side on a couch and passed Xavier to each other, while we admired his hair and little squishy face. We talked for a couple hours, and we got to hear about why she chose to make an adoption plan, her hopes for Xavier, and as much as we could fit in during our brief time together. We’ve been keeping in touch and we’re planning to visit her again next year.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, we are also expecting another biological child next Spring. At the beginning of the year I never would have imagined myself laying in bed with a baby on my chest and another one in my belly, with tears streaming down my face, partially due to sheer exhaustion, but mostly due to an overwhelming thankfulness to my Heavenly Father who gives such good good gifts.

Photography thanks to Brooke Collier Photography.

For more on Justin and Shawnna's adoption, you can read their blog, Our Adoption Adventure.

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