Thursday, March 4, 2021

Adoption Story: Brad and Corinne (again!)

Last week I shared the beginning of Brad and Corinne's story of their second adoption with Christian Adoption Consultants. If you missed her account of how God miraculously led them on a journey to parenthood for the second time, make sure to read part one here: In Their Own Words: An Adoptive Mama Shares her Journey to Motherhood.

Today I'm honored to share the second half of the story of sweet Naomi Rae...

Photos by Sohale Photography

As Brad and I took steps towards a second adoption, we had the joy of working again with our beloved social worker, Clair, and adoption consultant, Susan, who both had helped us bring Floyd home. People in this field of work are nothing short of saints, and we honestly have been blessed with the best in the biz. Paperwork for adoption is like an endless goose chase. Time and again, you'll think you finally have everything needed, only to find out you don't. But, by the end of August 2020, we were home study ready, and we were able to see possible expectant mama scenarios as September began. 

 

On Monday, September 14th, we read through the second scenario we'd been sent. It looked terrific, but the scenario did not say whether the baby was a girl or a boy, and we would not know before being officially matched. I have wanted a daughter for a long time and honestly just had a little girl in my heart.  Of course, had I been able to get pregnant, I would not have been able to choose whether I was having a boy or girl. But one of the weird parts of adoption is having a choice in some of this stuff. While Brad was excited about this second expectant mama scenario and open to either a boy or a girl, I started feeling confused: Am I just running with this idea of a girl because it's what I want? Is Jesus asking us to veer in a different direction? What does He actually want us to do? I called on a few close friends to pray for peace and wisdom for us in this. There didn’t seem to be any urgency in the original scenario that required us to submit our profile in to present ASAP, so we decided to sleep on it and wait. 

 

That Wednesday, I received a text from our trusted consultant, Susan, saying, "Have you all decided if you will be presenting to Mariah? Her caseworker just reached out to me and said they were hoping to present Mariah with a family who was already raising a black child." We had thought we had several more days to make a decision. I remember telling Brad that I felt unsure of what to do. So we prayed, "Lord, we want to do what you want us to do. Would you give us some confirmation, a word, or something from someone we trust as to what we are to do?"  

 

While we were praying, the mauve chair I had ordered for the nursery (mauve obviously a perfect color for the girl-themed nursery I had envisioned) arrived at our front door by delivery. When I sent a quick text to my Bible study group and family to pray for us, I saw I had a voice text waiting for me from one of my dearest friends, Leah. Her message said, "Hey love, I was hesitant to share this with you because I am human and could totally be wrong, but since you asked me to pray Monday for you about the scenario with Mariah, the phrase, "This is Naomi, This is Naomi" keeps playing in my mind. Last night, during Bible study, I heard the phrase again, and my heart started racing. This morning I felt like it would be wrong for me to not share it with you."

 

As I played the text for Brad, we stared at each other, completely shocked. Brad said, "Well, if that wasn't the most direct answer to prayer of all time!" I called my Mom to tell her what had happened. Naturally, she's super protective of me and knows how deeply I desired to have a girl. She said, "Corinne, this is just another opportunity to trust the Lord. He is the one putting your family together. He knows what is in your heart." So with tears running down my face, I looked at Brad and told him that we should present. 

 


Brad and I talked about how there was no worst-case scenario: if this expectant mama were to choose us, it would result in a baby, a sibling for Floyd! At that moment, I realized that, more than specifically wanting a girl, I wanted what Jesus had for our family, which also made me realize how much Jesus had been healing my heart. Looking back, I see that the things He had for me all along. While they may have looked different than what I pictured, all have turned out to be far more abundant than I ever could have dreamed for myself. With fresh hope and gratitude, we sent in our profile and waited. 

 

A week later, we received an email from Mariah's caseworker, saying she really liked our family but would like to have a phone call with us that coming Sunday before deciding. The caseworker told us to come prepared with questions to help the conversation along since Mariah was soft-spoken. Given that Floyd’s birth mama was also very soft-spoken, we thought we knew what to expect. When I called Mariah that Sunday, she didn't pick up initially, rather, calling us back a couple of hours later. I picked up the phone as she said, "WHAT'S UP, YOU GUYS! I am SO excited to be talking with you! I don't even know what to ask you because I am just so excited about all of this!"


Brad and I looked at each other and were like, "Is this the right number?!" Conversation with her was so easy! She said things like, "I've always loved adoption. My mom adopted me when I was little, and I always had everything I needed because she was in my life. I know this is going to be a wonderful experience. I can't wait for you guys to come down – that's when our real relationship can begin!" 


Photo by Megan Schmitz Photography


Part of the adoption process included us making a profile book for expectant moms to look through that introduces our family (kind of like a little magazine about our family and our hopes, dreams, etc.). One of our book's photos was a shot of our feet, all of us wearing Jordans, with a pair of matching baby Jordans next to mine. Mariah said, "Those baby shoes in your book are girls' shoes, aren't they? Are you guys hoping to have a girl? Because I am having a girl!"  

 

Brad had to pick my jaw off the floor! We got off the phone, completely shocked! We had gone into that call hoping to put our best foot forward and ease any uncertainly Mariah might have IF she chose us. Instead, Mariah practically told us she'd already chosen us for her baby and that she was having a girl! A few days later, on September 30th, we received official confirmation from the agency that we were legally and officially matched with Mariah! I was reminded of the word Beth shared with me a few years earlier, "End of September, you will be pregnant with a baby girl." If this wasn't pregnant with a baby girl for an infertile woman like myself, I'm not sure what was.  


I'm well acquainted with disappointment, and thus have a natural propensity to be wary of God really seeing me or honestly caring about the things in my heart. It turns out –Jesus not only see’s it all, but deeply cares. My desire to have a daughter was placed in my heart by Jesus Himself to lead us to Naomi.  He has been working through every single detail. Ecclesiastes 3:11 keeps coming to mind, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."



By the way, we are in our 8th year of trying to have a baby. Did you know that the number eight in Scripture signifies new beginnings? A new beginning for our family, indeed! A few weeks ago, I told the ladies at my beautiful baby shower that the places in my life that had felt dead and hopeless seem to be blooming with life. It isn't because I have brought life to them; it is because Jesus has breathed on places full of familiar despair and brought His hope and resurrecting life as only He can.

 

All along, God wasn't leading me through painful places to disappoint or hurt me. He was after deeper healing, one I've desperately needed and would never have fathomed possible. As much as Naomi Rae, our Beautiful Understanding, brings healing just by her arrival, she brings with her a beautiful understanding to her Mama of Jesus' unending and abiding love for her (me). God IS a good Father who IS trustworthy and kind. Naomi has given me a broader and clearer lens of who Jesus truly is. Her story has shattered the distorted lenses I've used for years to look at God.  

 

A few weeks ago, Brad and I were talking, and Brad shared that in his quiet time that morning, he heard God speak something specific to him. He has been praying over some specific situations that we knew only God could heal. And yet to our human understanding, some of these circumstances seemed beyond reach; we had been praying over them for years, but they still seemed so broken. In his prayer time, as Brad was praying over these situations, he heard God say, “I am good; I bring beauty from ashes.” As Brad felt the Lord say this, God also brought to mind Floyd’s adoption. Brad shared that he felt God showing him that there are few things that demonstrate his ability to bring beauty from ashes than adoption. The circumstances that a birth mom faces that lead her to place her baby for adoption are often incredibly difficult and many times even impacted by systemic issues well beyond her control. For us as adoptive parents, part of the reason we pursue adoption is because of incredible brokenness and disappointment in our own lives. And yet, the Lord uses all of this brokenness to create such a beautiful story of redemption. Personally, there is nothing we’ve ever done which has brought us greater joy than adopting Floyd. And to think that we get to walk this path again with Naomi is so incredible. 


 

Friends, Jesus is actually for you!  He is Faithful. He never abandons. He brings beauty from ashes. He has actually given me more, just like He said. 

 

"Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed,

for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

I said to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him.

The Lord is good to those who hope is in Him."

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

        “Those who sow in tears will reap shouts of joy.”

Psalm 126:5

 

With all our love,

Corinne, Brad, Floyd, & Naomi

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