Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Story

Have you ever been going about your life thinking that you have just the right amount of “challenges” to face…things are fairly comfortable…you’re feeling really blessed and then God speaks to you so clearly and you start sweating?
 It was a Sunday in November 2011 and I was sitting in church listening to a presentation from the director of Bethany Christian Services. It was Adoption Awareness Month and we had been highlighting stories of children in need of adoption for a few weeks. That day something was different. I felt a tug on my heart and I KNEW God was calling our family to act. My husband is the pastor of our church and, therefore, not usually sitting with me - so there were no meaningful glances to share…only my heart racing as I wondered how I would broach this subject later! 

Sure, we had talked about adoption when we first got married and before we had children. At that time though, in 2011, we had 3 children (ages 3, 5 and 7) and we hadn’t discussed adding to that number.

When we got home that afternoon, got the kids down for naps and put football on the TV, I brought it up. I said, “Can we pause the TV for a few minutes? I’ve got something to say and I really want you to hear me out so we can talk and pray about it.” He said, “Don’t worry. I already know what you’re going to say. God talked to me this morning too!” Okay – stuff like THAT doesn’t happen every day! We agreed to spend some time praying about next steps and, after a few weeks, we felt compelled to sign up for the 9 week state mandated course for adoption that would start in the new year.

We completed our course in March of 2012 and agreed to tackle all of the home study paperwork over the summer. Just 6 weeks later, while we were at church and Kevin was preaching a sermon titled “Giving Thanks in ALL Circumstances”, our house caught fire and we lost almost every material thing. Along with the loss of material possessions and the emotional turmoil that goes along with starting over and rebuilding, we wrestled with how this fit into our plan for adoption. Did we hear God wrong? Was He still in this? A lot happened in the year it took us to rebuild…a lot of personal growth, life lessons taught to our kids that I never thought they would have to learn the hard way, and some of the biggest testaments to God’s provision that will stay with us forever.
It took almost exactly one year to tear down the half burned structure of a house, build a new one and move in. We decided to take the summer of 2013 to get settled and regroup and then we were back on track for adoption. We called our case worker with Bethany Christian Services and asked how to move forward. By December 2013 we had completed our home study and were officially approved to adopt! We sent out our family flyer to every agency across our state and I scoured the internet daily (sometimes multiple times per day) looking at kids’ profiles and making inquiries. We had a few good leads, but nothing solid was taking shape and it quickly became apparent that the system is SLOW. We had a celebratory dinner just about every time we even got an email back from a social worker – no matter what it said!

One morning in March 2014, my eldest daughter came to me and said she had a dream the night before. She explained that, in her dream, we were in a room filled with children who were available for adoption and we ended up adopting one of those children. Of course, my first question was “Did you get a name??” I told her that was a sweet idea and reflected on how awesome it would be if such events actually took place, but I had never heard of any. That very afternoon, at 4pm, I got a call inviting us to a “match banquet” where we could interact with various children from our region that are currently available for adoption. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the feeling I got during that call…the very real sense that God was doing something.

In April, we went to two different matching banquets. Coming face to face with so many children who need their “forever family” was heartbreaking and eye opening in so many ways. The event that would lead us to our new son happened at the end of April 2014. We went to a bowling party with a few other families and about 15 kids. We saw him walk in and it was all over for my husband! I quickly ran up to Kevin and told him not to get his hopes up because I had inquired about this child 4 months ago and was told he wasn’t a good fit for us because of dog allergies (we have a dog). My husband would not be deterred. The boy’s social worker had accompanied him to the event and Kevin pleaded with her to reconsider her position. Our youngest son is allergic to dogs as well and we got our dog with that in mind. We were confident that this was something we could overcome! He was persuasive enough that she asked us to send her our home study the following Monday.
Clearly there are plenty of things that went on behind the scenes in the following weeks, but at the end of it all, we were asked to travel to their agency to be interviewed and considered for his adoption. It was between us and 2 other families.

At the end of our interview, they asked us “What makes your family unique? What can you give him that no one else could? Why should we pick YOU?” Yikes- no pressure! Between the two of us, Kevin and I told them this…”We aren’t unique and I don’t believe there is much that we can give him that NO ONE else could. Clearly, we can offer him a better home life than what he was born into, but so can a lot of other deserving families that want to adopt. So, WE aren’t special, but HE is. We believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us and we want to help our kids live into their specific purpose. If we have the privilege of welcoming him into our home, we will love him and spend our time learning about him and what his gifts are. We know that God has called us to adopt a child and if you believe that we are a good fit for THIS child, then we will be honored to welcome him into our family and help equip him to be the man that GOD has called him to be.”
One week later, in June 2014, they called and told us we would be his family! After about 2 months of weekend visits, we signed our adoption papers and Jayden moved in at the end of August 2014. We are now 3 weeks into it and this journey is JUST beginning! I know I haven’t spent much time talking about how all of this has impacted our 3 bio children, but there just isn’t enough space for all that info! 

Our other 3 children have been gracious, loving, accepting and everything in between through every stage of this journey. Jayden is only 8 months older than my youngest son and they are already fighting like brothers (and it warms my heart)! Our older 2 daughters have taken him under their wings and have been so nurturing and willing to step into the gap at times when I’m stretched so thin and just can’t give anymore.

I’m not going to say our family feels “complete” now. Our family feels FULL, but our commitment to going where God's lead remains…and it may lead to creating more space in our home and in our hearts for kids who need it. We’ll see!


  1. Thank you for sharing your whole story! It has been heartwarming to watch this story unfold on FB and Instagram and I love the joy I see on all the faces! I will continue to pray for you all!

  2. How beautiful when we can see God's hand so clearly on something!