Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Adoption Story: Reed and Suzanne

Sometimes the joy isn't just how the story ends. It can be found throughout the journey. What started out with grief God met with joy. What began as despair God met with hope. Reed and Suzanne's story to parenthood didn't go as planned, but some of the best stories don't. When we give our lives over for God to be the author, He can write some amazing stories. Reed and Suz found this to be true for their family...

We have the best ending to our story…the best! But it’s not only the sweet sweet ending that brings tears to my eyes, but the tender way God brought us through this journey to this unbelievable “ending.”

Our plan was always to have a biological child and then adopt. We had no idea the roller coaster of trying to have a biological child would be for us. Every month having hope, then losing hope, then starting again, while all around us it seemed like no one else was having a hard time getting pregnant. Then, after starting fertility treatments, it almost seemed like the hope was higher and therefore the loss was greater every month. It was isolating, it was painful…it was grief. That’s when God started changing me and changing my husband. We had to wrestle through the hard together and trust God’s ultimate plan for us to be bigger and better than we can think up for ourselves. I also started experiencing God as the comforter. I don’t know how many times I’d be driving home from the fertility clinic or laying in bed at night with my heart literally hurting, and, for the first time in my life, instead of feeling anger, doubt, and blame in my hurt, I felt the comfort of God’s arms around me and the assurance that this heartache was for a purpose. God grew my trust in Him and relationship with Him in ways that couldn’t have been done otherwise. 

In the midst of our fertility treatments, we both had the idea to start the adoption process. We knew we wanted to do it and we figured we would’ve started by then anyway. We felt like God was moving us in that direction. I heard of Christian Adoption Consultants and Susan through a friend and so I gave her a call to see if this was the path we wanted to take. We had such peace and excitement after talking with Susan and knew this was what we were supposed to be doing and when we were supposed to be doing it. It was amazing how drastically my heart changed towards our infertility. This was our purpose and we were on our journey to find our baby! Unlike the unknown of trying to have a biological child, we knew there was a baby at the end of this journey, regardless of how long it might take. Finally, I had hope again. 

Overall, our process was pretty fast in getting matched, but there were plenty of “no’s” in there that made it seem like an eternity. I quickly found out that there is still loss and grief in the matching process just like there was in our infertility. It was early November and we had just had two situations in a matter of two weeks that we were presented for. We were so hopeful for both and ultimately weren’t chosen to parent those babies. My emotions had been yanked in every direction in a very short amount of time and my heart hurt. I was feeling so hopeless. After finding out we weren’t chosen for the last situation, I prayed to God telling Him I was at the bottom and I needed hope. One hour later we were emailed a situation about a baby girl. I think we loved some part of every situation we were sent, but there was something different about this one. We immediately responded that we wanted to be presented. I felt a different kind of peace with this one. The next day, I read a Facebook post by a couple different friends who both were either matched or brought their baby’s home that day. That was the day our profile was being presented to the expectant mom. Perhaps clich├ęs, but I felt that was God encouraging and reassuring me. Something made me start praying differently that day too. It seemed like God wanted to me pray specifically for what I wanted. So I did. I told him I wanted this to be our baby. Yes, I still wanted the baby He had in mind for our family and the perfect timing, but I asked that THIS would be that baby and THIS would be that time. It took two weeks of long, hard waiting. Then, on World Adoption Day, we got the call that expectant mom had chosen us to be baby girls' parents! I had such confidence in God’s presence in this, and yet still was blown away that it was actually happening. We found out just in time to let our families know for Thanksgiving. Finally, we could celebrate having a baby with our families. 

The day after Thanksgiving, we got a call we’ll never forget. The expectant mom had taken off and they hadn’t been able to get ahold of her. They told us she had most likely changed her mind. There it was again…loss and grief. The agency asked if we wanted to start being presented for different situations. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem right to give up just yet. We said we wanted to wait through early the next week and see if she didn’t come back. I was confused. I asked God specifically that this was our baby and He answered clearly that it was. Didn’t He? That was a long five days to wait, but the next Tuesday we got another call saying the expectant mom was back in contact, was so sorry for any stress she might have caused, and still wanted us to parent if we still would be willing to! That experience really opened the communication, and, oddly, trust between us and the expectant mom. We were able to talk more about what made her leave and why this was so difficult for her and then were able to support her and pray for her better because of that. We loved her more and appreciated more how hard this has to be for her. Again, God used hard to bring good. 

A few weeks later we were headed to meet the expectant mom and then be there for the delivery of baby girl. We met her for dinner the day before induction. There was an instant connection and we had a great dinner getting to know each other. God definitely works in the details. In conversation, we found out she lives just 45 minutes from my family in Ohio. My high school played her high school in sports! What are the chances? There were plenty of other “coincidences” that made everyone involved more confident this was God’s doing.

The next day we waited to hear it was time to head to the hospital. What a feeling when we heard, “You need to leave now…baby is coming!”  We got to the hospital just in time to see baby girl be born. What a slew of emotions. (My husband had maybe too many emotions combined with sights and sounds and almost passed out. The Nurses got a good laugh out of that). I think the term sweetly broken describes it best. I loved that baby girl as soon as I saw her. She was a gift I never could have imagined. But I was broken as I looked over at her birth mom having just given birth to this baby she carried and loved for nine months and couldn’t even hold her because it would be too hard. While she didn’t want to hold baby girl herself, she did want to see me hold her and bond with her. It was such a sweet moment with my husband and I holding baby girl and introducing her to her birth mom. She asked her name and I remember I could hardly get it out. How special to finally be able to not just have her in my arms, but give her a name. Not only that, but we used birth mom’s name as her middle name, which was so important to us. We told birth mom that baby girl will always know her first momma and how much she loved her. One of the sweetest moments was the next morning when birth mom came to the nursery for all of us to do pictures and say our goodbyes. Before she left we all held hands and prayed over our baby girl. What a blessing for sweet baby to be prayed over by both her moms and her dad before she’s even a day old. She is undoubtedly LOVED. Her birth mom was so brave. She kept congratulating us on our daughter. I was a mess and she kept telling me not to cry. Needless to say, not how I imagined it going!

While we were anxious to get home, our time spent waiting out ICPC was sweet. We stayed in an Airbnb with the nicest family upstairs who took such good care of us and spoiled us. Another way God worked in the details to care for us. I had a chance one day to go for a run around a lake near where we were staying. I kept having to stop and get control of myself. The outcome of our baby girl is more that we could have ever asked or imagined. But when I thought about all that led up to this...the infertility, waiting, no’s, unknowns…and I remembered God’s sweet sweet presence during that time and how He changed us and taught us, I was overwhelmed. 

Early on I had to wrestle with if I truly believed God is good. Yes, I did and do believe that. Then I had to wrestle with if I believed He was good to ME. Again, yes, I felt and saw His goodness to ME. Now I wonder WHY He is so good to me? We're blown away by God's goodness...and not just because of this outcome. We saw His goodness throughout the last few years in the hard and the hurt, and THAT makes us dance in His goodness of this greater than we could ever hope for outcome. 

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