Our Adoption Story :: Part 1

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November is National Adoption Awareness month.  This month is special to me because I love having an opportunity to tell about how adoption has touched our family, and it is completely fitting that it is also the month we stop and give thanks.

Our adoption story really began about 16 years ago.  My now-husband and I were dating and I told him that, whether or not I could have biological children, I wanted to adopt.  His response was not, “OK, that’s fine,” or “Maybe after we have a couple of our own.” He said, “Really? Me too!” and if I hadn’t already been madly in love with him, that would’ve sealed the deal.  We were only 18 and 21, but looking back now, I can see that God was preparing our hearts and creating in us this intense desire for a child that would come. 

Fast forward 6 years.  We had experienced a miscarriage, an extended period of infertility, a miracle baby, and another miscarriage.  We were sad but not broken, because we knew in our hearts that now was the time to pursue adoption. My husband took on a second job stocking shelves at Walmart at night to save money for it.  We applied, filled out ridiculous amounts of paperwork, went to the classes, met with the people, filled out more paperwork, cleaned our home feverishly, bought rope ladders for the upstairs bedrooms and fire extinguishers for every single room, and finally completed all of the requirements. 

Then we found out we were pregnant again.  WHAT?? I mean, YAY! But also, WHAT? We didn’t know what to do, so we kept our profile active for as long as they would let us, hoping someone would still pick us.  We were definitely open to “twins” if it came to that.  But it didn’t, and our son was born later that year. 

We were elated he was here, but our desire for adoption just would not go away.  It gnawed at us almost the same as if you knew your biological child was out there trying to get to you and you needed to find a way to get to them.  There was a child for us.  We just knew it.  We had no idea though that all of this yearning and wanting and waiting had purpose.  We would need these memories of the longing and the desire and the wondering to sustain us when adoption didn’t look like we had pictured it.

We had to wait 6 months after our son’s birth to become active with the adoption agency, but at the end of that time we moved to a completely different state for a job.  Because our agency was local, not national, we could not continue with them and had to begin the process again with a new agency here in Memphis.  

At my yearly check up later that year, I had my son with me and was chatting it up with the nurses while they did all the routine tests.  They asked me if I could be pregnant (like they always do), and I laughed and said, “Uh, NO. Actively preventing that.  We are adopting.” She smiled and kept working as we talked.  Then she asked me if I was sure I couldn’t be pregnant. I just looked at her. Then said, “Well, surprise! You are! I did two tests!”  I just handed the other nurse my son and put my head between my knees, because HOW IN THE WORLD WAS THIS HAPPENING AGAIN?

I drove directly to my husband’s work and made him come out to the parking lot. I told him while he was standing there at my car window, because who has time for cute little pregnancy reveals at a time like this? Bless his heart, he was so happy. At least he pretended to be for me, which I will always be thankful for, because I was a mess.  I loved this baby already but it also felt like this would just push us further away from our adoptive baby AGAIN. I was just so confused.  I wish I could go back and tell that tired, stressed momma to just settle her spirit and trust the Lord. I had no idea that our adoptive son was already born, but he had a little more life to live before it was time to be with us.  If we had been able to continue with our adoption plans then, in all likelihood we would never had known our son.  We didn’t know that though, so we kept our profile open. We were fine with “twins;” we just wanted our baby. 

And the hoping, and longing, and waiting continued.  Our youngest daughter was born, we waited the 6 months, then started the process again, beginning to wonder if this would ever happen.

Memphis Moms Blog newborn baby

We were now almost 4 years into our pursuit of adoption.  All the time we felt so sure God was going to grow our family through adoption, but finding that impossible to complete.  We had always maintained the same availability for a child: any sex/race, open to toddlers as well as infants, would consider some medical needs (this came in the form of an exhaustive list of possible ailments where you check whether it is a “no,” “yes,” or “willing to consider”).  We checked “willing to consider’ on almost everything except extreme cases, as I was not sure I could take that on voluntarily as a fourth child in the home.  Even so, we had always assumed we would adopt an infant and it would most likely be a minority race because Memphis statistics told us that was the most likely scenario for placements.  Then, shortly after our youngest daughter turned 1, we got the call.  THE CALL. In case you were wondering, when your caseworker’s name shows up on your phone, and you know there is no reason for her to be calling, you nearly throw up.  I answered and the voice on the other end had a life altering question for me:  “Will you submit your profile?”

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the story!