The Divine Moment of "Yes"
Let me start by saying that wherever your thoughts may be in this adoption journey, we have been there before. Whether you are just broaching the idea of adoption, seriously considering adoption, know that you want to adopt or you currently in the adoption process (and oh is it a process…), we have been there and want you to leave with one piece of advice…GO FOR IT AND TRUST GOD’S PLAN! Adoption is truly a miracle and has changed our lives in more ways than I can write in this blog post.
Our story is a little different than most who are starting the process of adoption. I was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery during my college years to replace my defective valve. In May of 2013, Matt asked my father for his permission to take my hand in marriage. During that phone call my dad made it a point to bring up the topic of children and expanding the family. My parents knew it was a dream of mine to have children of my own, but he also knew that my cardiologist had told us years earlier that it would be too dangerous for me to carry a child given my health condition. That was just my dad’s way of being both a protective father to me and a thoughtful and conscientious future father-in-law to Matt. Of course, Matt was already aware of this prognosis and had seen me shed many a tear over this unfortunate reality about the limits of my own body. I knew Matt wanted kids of his own too and we both felt confident that God had a bigger plan for us and our family.
We first started talking about adoption more seriously in November 2015 and we began to gather information on domestic infant adoption. We spent a lot of time praying, doing research and talking to people as we explored our options to grow our family. I am one of 4 girls and we had considered going the route of surrogacy and using my oldest sister as our surrogate. After a consultation with a fertility physician and some true soul searching, it became clear to us that adoption was the route for us. We completed our home study in January 2017 and were active with an adoption consultant by April 2017.
For about 6 months we waited and prayed. We said yes to cases only to find out that we were not chosen by that birth mom/birth parents. I will be the first to admit that this felt like rejection to us. But after contemplation and prayer, it became clear that what felt like rejection was merely a case of God working his miracles for another family and that we would just have to patiently wait our turn. That was reassuring but it didn’t make the waiting any less difficult. Although difficult, it is truly worth it and prepares your heart for the divine moment you hear that “yes”! Matt and I heard our yes on October 26, 2017. We were matched with birth parents in Arizona about 6 months after becoming active. I will never forget the phone call from our consultant telling us that Mama J had chosen us. We knew very little info about the baby and birth parents when we were selected. We knew that they were an 18-year-old couple and were Seniors in high school. We knew that the baby was due in February 2018 and at the time, did not know the sex of the baby. I am sure a lot of you are thinking that is not enough info to go off. Trust me, there are always risks and concerns. However, what you MUST remember through this process is that He has a plan and hears your prayers.
The day after being matched, we had a phone call with both birth parents to ensure that we were moving forward on both sides. We found out about 10 minutes before the call that IT WAS A BOY! I will always remember the excitement and anticipation Matt and I had to hear their voices for the first time. We immediately knew that not only were we meant for this little baby boy, we were meant for them and Mama J and Daddy M were meant for us. Over the next three and a half months, we began to navigate open adoption with Mama J. I would text her just to check in, see how doctors appointments went, wish them a Merry Christmas and keep them in the loop on our lives. It is so wild to think that this little baby created such a strong tie between a couple in Atlanta and a couple in Arizona, whose paths would have probably never crossed.
We were a week out from his due date and I knew that Mama J had a doctor’s appointment that Tuesday morning. I did not hear from her or our social worker so assumed no news was the same and we were still waiting this little guy’s arrival. As soon as I told Matt that on the phone, I got a call from our social worker. “Mama J’s water broke…you need to book flights.” I have tears in my eyes and chills on my arms as I type this out. This was a defining moment in our journey and something shifted to make this feel more real. We booked flights for 6 PM to Phoenix. I rushed out of the office and ran home to pack. We got to the hospital around 10 PM in Arizona to find out that she was still in labor. We walked into her hospital room and met both birthparents for the first time. Our baby was born around 1 AM on Valentine’s day and we made it to the hospital for his birth. I could write an entire separate blog on our 3 days in the hospital with both birth parents. Those 3 days stick out as some of the best 3 days of our lives. We got to spend time with this amazing couple and felt their love, selflessness and strength in the decision to place their baby for adoption and choose us as parents. We saw God at work and will always cherish those 3 days in the hospital before they could relinquish their parental rights.
We had many doubts and fears about this entire adventure but learned from our conversations with family, trusted friends and other adoptive parents that this is perfectly normal. Don’t let the doubt creep in or the fear paralyze you. Just trust in God and continue to ask for His grace and guidance. Our pastor, Kris, read a quote to us when we initially met with him about pursuing adoption in 2016. This quote was somewhat of a motto for us as we navigated this adoption journey. He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr who once said, “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would end, I would still plant my apple tree.” Matt and I love the strength, determination, and hope that all seem to be wrapped up in this short quote by one the greatest leaders our country has ever known. It reminded us that God is in control and we should not let fear get in the way of our efforts to pursue the beautiful gift of adopting a child into our lives. As I hold an almost 5-month-old beautiful and precious baby boy, I am extremely grateful that we planted this little apple tree.
What I did not see at the time but could not be any clearer looking back on this journey is that for us, adoption was a way to be intentional with our relationship with Christ and seeing prayers answered is something that is so reassuring and uplifting.