Last year, a couple of weeks before Christmas while my husband and I were out shopping, he turned to me and said, “Why don’t we just adopt a child from Syria?” His statement was due—in large part—to the current and ongoing refugee crisis and a result of reading and viewing horrific news almost daily about families forced to flee their homelands for safety. My husband obviously knows that there’s no such thing as “just” adopting, but he was expressing his solution to a need.
“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”
It’s been pinned thousands of times. We all understand that we are supposed to know and feel and believe that God is bigger than any challenge, foe, or bump in the road. But what is supposed to be, and what is, isn’t always one-in-the-same.
How do you practically “let” faith be bigger than fear? Speak it? Pin it? Chant it? Stick a post-it to your bathroom mirror? Make it your phone home screen? Get a cool graphic tee that let’s everyone know that you just, “LOVE you some Jesus?”
When we adopted our three daughters, sixteen years ago, I was confident in my parenting ability. People often complimented me on my three boys and on my parenting. In fact, I used to say that when I die, they could put “She was a good mom” on my headstone.
Not long after my girls came home, that all changed. I no longer felt like a good mom. In fact, there were times I questioned if I was even the right mom for the job. I could hear the message on my headstone being ground off because it was no longer true. What I was doing, how I was parenting, was not working with my girls. They had come to me with grief. Loss. Impacts of trauma. The tools in my toolbox were clearly not the right tools. But back then, there was little research to know what the right tools were. There was very little support, no one to ask. I was on my own.
In my work as an adoption consultant, I have the honor of walking alongside couples on their journey to building their family through adoption. I partner with adoptive families for the entirety of their adoption: starting with the home study and sometimes for years afterwards. I watch in awe as they pray, wait, dream, and work to answer the call they have to adopt. We pray together for birth families and babies, and we laugh together at God’s crazy timing and overwhelming faithfulness. My role as a counselor, educator, and advisor has been incredibly rewarding.
It seems so long ago that I was walking around the bustling halls of my high school. My hair was platinum blonde, I had a ballet-slipper pink backpack, and I walked around with a sense of determination. I was known as “the singer”. It was a fitting name since I spent nearly all of my time either in choir, singing lessons, singing competitions, or shows. I would also go around campus singing everywhere—in classrooms, in bathrooms, in the halls—it didn’t matter. I was most happy when I was singing, and so, I sang everywhere!
In 2010, my husband and I were still newlyweds, but we firmly believed God had called us to adopt our first child. We were very young—only 23 and 25—so our options for adoption were limited. Through prayer and guidance from others, we found our adoption agency and decided to pursue an Ethiopian adoption.
When I look back on our adoption journey, I laugh at how much my faith was stretched and how—at the time—I felt that the adoption process would be one of the most difficult journeys I would encounter as a parent. If only I had known what was ahead! We anticipated a nine-month adoption timeline but a variety of factors stretched the process over two years. There were so many details to see to: the paperwork, the revisions of our home study parameters, and the losses and matches of families ahead of us on an agency waitlist. I marvel at how our son was matched to us—it is a miracle that a little boy born in Gambella, Ethiopia, now resides in our home in Brooklyn, NY.
I’ve been thinking a lot about our story, and all the other stories that need to be told. As foster and adoptive families, we often walk a lonely, isolated path. It’s been almost a year since the adoption of our son was finalized. He was our first placement and had been with us for three and a half years.
We had only been licensed for a couple of months when the call came. With the help of our three bio children—a son and two daughters—we prepared the extra bedroom in a gender neutral fashion. Our kids had picked the paint color, a shade of orange that I definitely was not in love with, but it had a hidden meaning that would show itself later.
Each of the following blogs brings a unique perspective to the topic of adoption. In addition, each blog shares some of the challenges that adoptees and adoptive families face. The stories are raw and real—told by people who have been touched by adoption in a variety of ways. Reading these blogs will leave you with a deeper understanding of the complexities of adoption, and leave you feeling uplifted
My journey to motherhood started with brokenness, heartache and grief. It has become a story of redemption, love and joy.
I always assumed motherhood would come quickly & easily for me. I dreamed about seeing those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, watching my belly grow month after month, rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night and—after many long hours of labor—resting with my newborn baby snuggled to my chest. As it turned out, my journey to the life-changing experience of motherhood ended up looking a whole lot different.
It was a cold January morning when we sat across the Starbucks table from a local pregnancy-adoption counselor. This meeting was the culmination of an adoption-dream first conceived together via a skype date while dating, a couple years of trying to conceive biologically without success, and an eagerness to grow our family.
The counselor’s talk of openness in adoption frightened us and made our nerves tingly in an uncomfortable sort of way. We didn’t know that we agreed with her. How could that be best for our child? Wouldn’t he or she be confused?