Updated: Jul 15, 2020
When I was in college, I went on a mission trip to Africa. The city we went to was basically a giant orphanage. The country we were in had the highest AIDS rate in Africa and most of the fathers were out of the picture. The town was full of small houses that had a mom, an aunt, and multiple children. In ways that would take too long to put into words, I was struck on that trip. Ever since then, I have had adoption written on my heart. The Lord used that trip and my trips to an Inner-City and to Thailand the following year to show me how possible it was to deeply love a child that was not biologically my own, but that needed a home and parents to love them. I’ve heard it said that if you have a desire to adopt, it was the Lord that put that desire there.
In 2013, Josh and I had been dating for about three months and we were on a date to Disneyland. Josh doesn’t love Disneyland. For me, it’s nostalgia. I grew up going to Disneyland and with that comes a love of the place. We were sitting eating our lunch, watching droves of families walk by. So many parents trying to control their crazy, sugar-filled, high-on-Disneyland, children. We sat there in our own protected bubble with not a care in the world. Josh looked at me and said, “how many of those things do you want?” We had never had “the kid discussion” before. I told him that I wanted to birth a few and adopt a few. To my great delight, Josh responded, “I want to adopt someday as well.”
Fast forward about seven years. We dated, got married, took a couple years to be newly weds, two years of trying to get pregnant, miscarriage, loss of sweet JJ, another miscarriage, here we are. We have no idea what God’s plan for our family is. Josh and I both so deeply desire to raise children to know and follow Jesus. We have always had adoption in our minds, but honestly just figured we would have a couple of biological children first and then start the adoption process. God's plan for our family is clearly different than our original plan and we are just trying to be obedient to His promptings.
About 6 months after JJ went to be with Jesus, the Lord kept bringing adoption back to my mind. Josh and I talked and prayed and decided that it was time to start putting out feelers and asking questions about the process of adoption. The spiritual significance of adoption is amazing. It is such a beautiful example of how God has adopted us into his family and loved us as his own children. Not only are we considered His children, but we are sealed for eternity and promised an inheritance in Heaven.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." 1 Peter 1: 3-4
Moving into this new phase is both exciting and really hard because we will always miss JJ. We are still VERY much in the midst of grieving him and that will never go away. We are still figuring out how to move forward in life knowing that all of our future joys in life will be accompanied by the grief and reality that he is not here. We can’t replace him, nor do we want to. He will always be a part of our family and any future children will know and love their big brother, JJ. We also want to follow God’s promptings and watch how he continues to shape our family. No matter how the Lord gives us children, they are going to know how loved and deeply desired they are.
As I have said over and over, God has been pretty clear with us to be open about our journey to parenting. This process of adoption is part of that journey so I want to be as open as I can be about this process. I had been warned that adoption was not easy, but I also kind of saw it as our guaranteed way to have a baby. It has never been an alternative. It has always been part of Plan A for our family.
In our first conversation with an adoption agency, I learned very quickly that the process of adoption is no less a trust exercise than waiting for biological children.
We told the lady at the adoption agency a brief version of our journey so far. The first thing she said to me was “just so you know, this process will trigger those grief emotions.” She was immediately correct. There is so much uncertainty in waiting. The process is long, expensive, and overwhelming. After getting through the approval process (which takes about 4-6 months), then you start waiting. The call could come tomorrow or it could come multiple years from now. It could be that a birth mom picks us in the early stages of her pregnancy, the day the baby is born, or anywhere in between. There is even uncertainty after the baby is born. The birth mom has time to change her mind after the baby is born. These facts were already triggering these all too familiar emotions of waiting and of having a child taken away from me. I have already had too many children taken away from me. And then, there’s the added details of what would happen if we were to get pregnant again during this whole process. We have no diagnosis stating I cannot biologically have healthy children.
Amidst all the emotion of this initial call, I had to laugh at myself for thinking even for a second that God was going to take away our need to trust Him with every detail of this journey to parenting. Our need to depend on Him is only heightened. Josh and I are praying fervently separately and together for wisdom as we enter this new phase.
We covet your prayers as well. We are so grateful to the village around us. I remember the adoption lady saying that part of the approval process is figuring out what kind of support system we have. That made me giggle. That is one part of the process I know we will pass. Will you pray with us? Will you pray for God’s guidance as we try to navigate the world of adoption? Will you pray for our hearts as we continue to heal and wait?