I strongly believe sharing your story not only helps you process and heal but also helps other find the courage they need to heal and share too. And so, I’d like to feature another valiantly vulnerable woman’s story occasionally. Let me introduce you my friend to Sarah. . .
God began our road to adoption like many other couples with infertility. My husband and I are entering our 7th year without being able to conceive. It has been a very difficult journey, but God has taught us so much. He brought blessings into our lives we could not have expected or wanted on our own. God showed us that He is in control over EVERY life born (Deuteronomy 32:39-”See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”), and we had to make the choice to believe this truth and trust His perfect plan for how our family would take shape. He has chosen not to give us a child biologically. Instead, He chose to open our home to children who were just as destined for our family as if they had been born to us biologically.
While I wanted to adopt one day, my husband had little interest and many doubts. He had many questions that God helped him work through. Would we love an adopted child just as deeply as biological children? With a biological child, would we have a better idea of temperament, personality, and behavior as we always imagined similarities between ourselves and our children? How does the Biblical idea of parental authority and spiritual heritage work when a child has parents and birth parents? As we had the opportunity to speak to other supportive Christian couples in our church who adopted, we discovered many people have questions similar to these.
God patiently worked with us through those questions and helped us understand truths we didn’t even know we needed to be seeking. In Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply” is not a biological term. It simply means to increase or grow in number. God’s call to families from the very beginning has not been specifically limited to biological growth. Additionally, God gave us the conviction that every child is a person and a soul, not just biology and personality. Their soul gives them value, worth, and definition, and that soul is who God places in each family by design according to His perfect plan unbound by expectation or tradition. The same God who has chosen His spiritual children to be adopted into His family (Ephesians 1) is the same God who puts earthly families together. When we came to God with our concerns and worries, He came alongside us and helped us see a little more of the world through His eyes.
Now that we understood a little more of God’s call to adoption, we waited for direction. None came. So we waited unsure of God’s plan for our family but trusting that He patiently forms families with care and perfect intentionality. We knew we must also patiently await his direction resisting the urge to interject our own will. Several months later, we received a call out of the blue. My husband’s nephew and his girlfriend were expecting and choosing adoption for their unborn child. They heard through family that we were also interested in adoption, and after much discussion, they asked us to adopt their child…due in 6 WEEKS! We brought our first daughter home from the hospital in July 2013. God’s timing was perfect-4 years of infertility led us to the adoption of a child that we know belongs in our family. In 2015, we followed God as we investigated adopting again. We contacted a lawyer, and by May we were bringing home another beautiful little girl. From the very beginning, these two children have been designed by God to be part of our family. Their conceptions, births, and adoptions were not mistakes on God’s part, but an intricate weaving of people and time to bring families together.
When you enter this crazy, beautiful, uncertain world of adoption, there are highs and lows that you can’t fully appreciate until you’re in it. No one tells you how very hard and very exciting the time at the hospital can be, even under the best of circumstances. Will she change her mind? How do you bond with a baby you’re not sure will be yours? There may be birth family, who at best are loving and grieving, or at worst trying to talk the birth mother out of her decision or directing hostility towards would-be adoptive parents. The birth mother has chosen you to care for the child, but you have no rights to any decisions that are made. On the other hand, you are handed a beautiful gift, a gift you have been waiting for and praying for. You have a sweet newborn that needs you to feed, change,and care for her. You (hopefully) have a birth mother encouraging you to be this child’s mother even at her own emotional expense. You watch a mother love this baby, say goodbye, and grieve the loss even when she is confident in her careful, difficult, and loving decision.
Then comes this new relationship with birth parents. How do you decide what level of relationship is best for your child? Do we still visit and for how long? What about pictures? How does your birth parents’ life choices affect the relationship? What do you tell your child about her birth parents and when? How do you assess the needs of the birth parents and use sensitivity regarding their attachment or detachment. These are very real questions, and they vary with every child and every situation and may change as time goes on. I am so thankful for the birth parents we have and for the choice they made for their girls. They wanted a better life for their children. However, I sometimes struggle with the fact that my children come with a biological mother. Then I remember that God chose to bring our family together this way, and I have to choose to trust Him once again. His plan and our experiences may not always be about us as parents but is sometimes about others, like the children He has brought into our lives.
The road to adoption is full of ups and downs. We prayed A LOT. We bought very little and told few people in preparation. We chose her name, made her baby blanket, and WAITED for the phone to ring. We bounced between being so happy to add to our family, then grieving for the woman preparing to leave the hospital without a baby. So many times, people see adoption from only one side. To the world, it looks like we went to the hospital and brought back a baby. The reality is far from that. God chose to give us two beautiful blessings through adoption and forever set the course of all of our lives. We are so thankful to be a part of His plan. This journey continues to refine and mold us into believers who trust God more and more. What an amazing experience it is to lean on God to handle things when you have NO control over anything. It’s joyful. It’s difficult. It’s painful. But, it’s beautiful.