Hope in the Waiting

We had been dating for a week or two when adoption came up. It seems crazy to look back and know that so very early in our relationship, we both had adoption in our hearts. A dream that God had placed in both of us. Max and I met my freshmen year of college and started dating the summer after. We had
it all planned out in our minds, we would get married and start our family. We would be young parents and our kids would all be close in age.

Looking back I can see how much work God still had to do in my heart to prepare me to be the Mom my future children were going to need me to be. And that my plans never could have compared to the plans God had waiting for me.

Shortly after we were married in 2004, I started to feel sick and fatigued all the time. We eventually learned that I had severe endometriosis and would need surgery immediately. After the first surgery in 2008, we tried some fertility medication to try to help us get pregnant before the endo could come back
and make things more difficult for us. Everything looked great after my surgery and yet month after month we were still not pregnant. We tried some medications but despite things looking great, no baby.

After moving in 2009, we learned everything with Max looked great and that my ovaries and tubes were healthy, but unfortunately some spots of endo had already come back. So I had another surgery to remove the endometriosis before trying some different medicines and treatments. After another surgery and many months of new procedures and medications I was tired. My body was going through miserable side effects of the medications and I decided I needed to take a break for my mental health.

Throughout all of the fertility treatments we were also constantly thinking about adoption. We always knew we would adopt. We just assumed it would be in addition to our biological children. During my break from all of the medications and treatments I felt God strongly telling us it was time to start the
adoption process. We started to meet with adoption agencies right away. We fell in love with Bethany Christian Services and knew we were exactly where God wanted us to be.

In December of 2011 we submitted our profile book and settled in for what we learned could be a long wait. We had been ready to be parents for over 7 years at this point, so we felt like patience was something we were meant to work on. So we were absolutely shocked when a few short months later we got a call that a birth mom wanted to meet us! It was March of 2012. We met Liam’s birth mom on a Tuesday and brought him home on that Thursday.

It was the most incredible experience of our lives. God changed our hearts more through our first adoption than we ever could have imagined possible. When we started the adoption process the thought of open adoptions and birth families terrified us. But the love we felt for Liam’s birth mom and the pain we felt for her were both unexpected and incredible. God taught us something life changing through our experience. That joy and pain are not exclusive. He began to show us how beautiful our lives can be when we are open to loving others His way. Not the easy or common way, but the way He is calling us to do life. These birth moms went from someone who needed a family for their child, to a real person who loved this baby more than words could ever relay. It was so much easier to think of them as a faceless person who needed a family for this baby.

Because now this situation had grief and pain attached to it. And worldly viewpoints from others came flooding in...

“adoption is wrong because it causes a birth mother pain, or “it is selfish to want to be chosen, because you are waiting on the pain of another person”.

But what we learned as we went through the process, is that we live in a world of full of painful situations. Ever since sin entered this world, pain was inevitable. So rather than run from it, God is calling for us to enter into it with others. And to love them through it. God has given us free will, we make our own choices. But He also knows the choices we are going to make. So while He didn’t choose what would happen in the lives of my children’s birth families, He did know the choices that would be made and that my babies would need a family. And I am so incredibly thankful that He chose to lead us all to each other. What an incredible honor to be their Mom and Dad.

In November of 2013 we decided to start the adoption process again. The wait was a lot longer this time. In December of 2016, we got the phone call we had been waiting about 3 years for. A birth mom wanted to meet us. The possibility of a baby brother for our 4 year old son was finally happening. We were over the moon excited.

As baby #2’s due date approached I found myself preparing with joy, but also with a hesitation. I could feel God reminding me to trust Him and continued with our preparations; but at the same time had the feeling that things were not going to play out as I was wanting them to. As his birth day arrived I shared the few updates we received with our parents and best friends. But I kept my heart guarded. I felt so confused, I continually felt nudged to pray for our baby and his birth mom. But also just felt sure that he wasn’t going to be coming home with us like I wanted him to.

As the ups and downs of the next few days unfolded and my heart broke, I wrestled with my confusion. I prayed for God to give me peace in letting go, if this wasn’t our baby. As our hearts ached and we grieved and helped Liam to grieve; I felt God continually telling me to wait.  And to trust Him and His love for us and our family. It was some of the hardest days our little family has ever gone through and yet the way it drew us to Him was truly a blessing.

At the time I had no idea what it was I was waiting for. But I continued to move forward through the pain. All the while praying over the sweet baby and his birth mama, who continued to be on my heart every single day.

In February we got a call that Jeremiah was possibly still going to be part of our family. I can't tell you the emotions that came with that call. I am honored and humbled that not once, but twice someone has considered us worthy to be Mama and Daddy to a little that they love and adore with all of their heart. I
can't begin to put into words how that feels. It is a privilege I don't take for granted.

On March 22nd, we got to meet him for the first time. It was exactly 5 years from the day we first heard about our sweet Liam.  And then on March 29th, we brought our little guy home. Exactly 5 years to the day from when we brought his big brother Liam home. God is always in the details. And He made it very
clear that He always has a plan and will take care of us.

In December of 2016 we were also in the middle of our third Safe Families hosting. We had grown very close and attached to the twins who had stayed with us off and on throughout the year and a half they had been in our lives. And just before Jeremiah was born we had to say goodbye to them as well. Through all of the ups and downs of the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 our hearts were aching and we were tired. We knew we needed a break from both hosting and the adoption process. In a short amount of time we had not only gone through multiple experiences of heart break and grieving ourselves, but we had also walked along side our friends as they experienced the heart break and grief of miscarriage, health struggles, sickness, loss of family, and so much more.

Yet in all the immense pain, grief, and despair; I was able to see all these people I so dearly love clinging to Christ. He was walking us all through what felt like valley after valley. And not only did I see all of us growing closer to Him in our own unique ways, but I saw us learning to not only depend more deeply on Him but to depend on each other in ways we had never had to before. We learned to truly love each other as Christ calls us to. We were entering the grief and pain of those we loved. We were joining them in their pain, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it was. We became willing to be vulnerable with them. To share our pain together. And these people, who were already our tribe; truly became family. And to have a tribe that is a family in Christ is a blessing beyond what we ever could have imagined.

We are currently waiting to be picked by a birth family again. And recently decided to be a host family for Safe Families again. Sometimes I get anxious about how hard things could get again or what could lie ahead. But then I am reminded that if my eyes are focused on Him, the fear will fade away. It reminds
me that my main purpose in life is to love others as He has loved me, to share the gospel, and to live in the freedom that was bought for me, through His death on the cross.

God didn’t mean for us to only have freedom once we get to heaven. He meant for us to experience freedom and abundance through living a life dependent on Him. Letting our faith be at the front of our lives and decisions. To boldly live a life that serves others, taking the focus off of ourselves. Sharing our struggles and lives with others.

To the ladies waiting and hoping for a positive pregnancy test, those anxiously awaiting a child through adoption, and you mamas who have lost a little one before you ever had the chance to meet them, my heart aches with yours. Hold on to hope and lean into Jesus. Listen for His leading. And let those around
you, join you on the journey. We are meant for community and to enter into the brokenness with one another. When we place our trust in God and let Him lead our lives, He will do far greater than we could ever imagine.

Hold on to hope ladies!


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