Friday, January 17, 2014

It's the Lord's Purpose That Prevails

I always said I'd never do it. Couldn't do it. It sounded too hard and messy. Seems like every time I say things like that, God finds a way to make me do it. Who would have thought that our Ethiopian adoption would have changed my heart about domestic adoption? And besides, I didn't want to adopt the third child, I wanted to get pregnant again. I guess this is the right point to insert this little verse... "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21" When will I ever learn to accept that His ways are SO much better than mine?!
Each time we have prayed and asked God how our next child should enter our family, we've been given a very clear path. Cooper, our oldest and only bio child, came fairly early in our marriage. We had always wanted to adopt and when I was having some health issues about 2 years after Cooper's birth we felt like God was telling us not to wait on adopting after we had 'our' kids, but rather to go ahead and start the adoption process then. Silas entered our family at 10 months old and hasn't exactly been an easy child to parent. Attachment was rough, there was some illness involved, and he's pretty aggressive/defiant. We've learned a lot about parenting with grace in the past couple of years...our skin has gotten much tougher while our hearts have gotten much softer. I could go on and on but that's not what this post is about!
We were ready for child #3 and committed to pray about it. I wanted to try and get pregnant again (even though I knew this may not be ideal given some health 'things' going on) and maybe adopt again down the road. However, God had a different plan and I didn't want to listen. I was at an adoption retreat and was frustrated that I had gotten stuck in with all the domestic moms when I clearly had adopted from Ethiopia. I sat through dinner one night feeling lonely and annoyed listening to open adoption stories from other moms. A friend was on the trip with me who had worked with a local domestic agency but I was unaware of this before the trip. On the way home I started putting the pieces together...but I was hesitant. Once home, I requested an information packet from the agency but when it came in the mail I stuck it in a stack. I didn't reply to an email from them checking in with me, nor did I respond to a voicemail they left me either. I just didn't know what to do with this information and I was scared. I had always heard those birth mom horror stories and it wasn't anything I wanted my family involved in. I felt so torn. Then, one day I received a call from this friend who still had ties with the agency and she told me of a tiny baby girl who had been born the day before and needed a family to bring her home from the hospital and felt like it just might be us. What?! That's what I call my slap-in-the-face-by-God moment. Ultimately, we weren't her family but I finally got the message loud and clear. We filled out our application, spoke with the director, and within days our tax refund check came in the mail and we were able to pay all of the agency fees. I had plans but God's were better.
Sometimes it takes hindsight to realize God's sovereignty but have you ever recognized it in the midst of an event? While we were waiting on being matched with an expectant mother I found out I needed a hysterectomy. It all made sense. I was grateful that we had been led back into adoption before I knew about this or it would have been even harder to swallow. How perfect was His plan? It totally blew me away. If we hadn't started on the path to adoption we would have tried to get pregnant in October. I had surgery in October. We later found out that our soon-to-be third boy was conceived in (you guessed it!) October. He knew all along that this was what would happen! The first time we met with "P", our son's birth mother, we explained all of this to her and she said he was destined to be ours.
Once we were matched, the relationship between us and "P" was easy and she and I became fast friends. I won't go into detail online about her and her story out of respect for her family. What I will say is that she's one of the most beautiful, brave souls I know. The part that scared me about domestic adoption was the idea that a birth mom would be playing an 'auntie' role in our family and it would be confusing. I had heard that all adoptions were encouraged to be open and I wasn't comfortable with that. But after meeting Silas' birth mother in Ethiopia and wishing she was able to see him meet milestones and grow up, I could empathize with the role of the birth mother. Something cut me deep. They're not out to get adoptive families. They made a plan for their child to be with a new family for whatever reason. More love and courage goes into that decision and plan than most people will ever know.
Some of my favorite things about domestic adoption are that I became friends with "P", our kids played at the park together, she wanted to know us so she felt comfortable with her decision, we painted pottery together and it's now in his room, I got to feel him kick in her belly, the laughs we shared (that girl can make me laugh like none other!), she wanted me at all doctor's appointments, we were with her as she labored and were there when he was born.
And quickly, to debunk a few of the Lifetime Movie myths about domestic adoption...
Yes, she had the right to back out of the adoption at any point during the process. Even at the hospital and after we took him home. This is a risk you sign up for with this type of adoption. Yes, it consumes your thoughts.
In our state she had 10 days after birth to revoke the plan but she waived 5 of those days. We knew this was a possibility and the stress level ran high during those days but we had spent enough time with her to know she was confident in her plan.
We have a 'semi-open' arrangement which means that we have contact through the agency but not directly. I send in pictures and updates every 3 months for a year and then twice a year until he's 18. The agency forwards these to her. Also, when he wants to meet her one day we will arrange that and go from there.
He turns 6 months old this week and I haven't seen her or spoken to her since we left the hospital and I can't tell you how much this hurts my heart. I miss that girl like crazy! She holds a special place in my heart that I would have never known about if I had followed my plans. Once again, the sovereignty of the Lord amazes me! 
My name is Emily and I am a teacher turned SAHM of 3 boys and married to Justin who is an electrician. Cooper (bio) is 6 and in kindergarten, Silas (Ethiopia) is 3 and in preschool, and Roland (US) is an infant. We're very involved at our church and also run the food pantry. Our family loves sports, board games, traveling, and dance parties. Ha!

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