Before I entered the adoption world, I didn’t think many people adopted after having biological children. BUT THEY DO! And I love that. So much.
I gathered together a group of women who are willing to share their adoption story for this adoption series: “Adoption After Biological Children.” I am so excited for you to read these stories. Just because you can have biological children, you can still (and SHOULD!) adopt. Those who adopt after biological children face different challenges than those who enter the adoption world after infertility. My goal for this series is to shed light into the world of adoption. One story at a time.
Today Kristi shares her story here…..
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
My husband (Josh) and I said “I do!” back in 1998, on a windy October day. We were young and in love, and though we both wanted kids (he always said two and I wanted three), we chose to wait a while before starting our family. Seventeen years later…here we are….with four little arrows. Every now and then, it’ll just hit me….He has done “exceedingly abundantly!” My mind will quickly rewind the years, and then fast forward them again….He has done “exceedingly abundantly!” I often think back to the BC (Before Children) days, and then I will hear the laughter and squeals, the shouts and cries for “MOM!”…and I can’t help but think, He has done “EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY!”
I knew from the time I was in third grade that I wanted to be a teacher. As a teenager, I babysat every weekend and loved working with kids. I taught preschool throughout college, and after graduating, I taught Kindergarten and first grade. It was when my husband and I met my sweet, little Kindergarten student, MollyKate, and her mom…that the Lord first put adoption upon our hearts. We both fell in love with this little almond-eyed five year old, who had been adopted from China. I loved hearing the story of how MollyKate’s mom (Trish) adopted her, and seeing just how much she loved her only daughter! Little seeds were planted within us that year….and over the next twelve years or so, we would often say, “Maybe one day we will have a little MollyKate.” Little did we know then what the Lord had in store for us!
Our firstborn son entered the world in 2002. Our second son was born in 2006. When he was fairly young, we began talking more seriously about adoption. We attended a few adoption seminars, and requested applications from several agencies. It was very overwhelming to us, and we didn’t quite know how or where to begin. We kept hearing about China’s financial requirements for adoptive families, and we were nowhere close to qualifying! Still, we both had the desire to adopt. There were many times we couldn’t see past our circumstances and/or finances. I often lacked faith that the Lord would make it happen, if it was His will. I would often approach my husband….and he would tell me that it wasn’t the right time. He would assure me that he did want to adopt, but that he just couldn’t move forward with it then.
On a little family vacation in the summer of 2009, Josh and I were floating on rafts in a little Palm Desert pool, when he said he might be open to having another biological child. Up until that point, he had said that we were “done!” Over the next few months, we talked at great length about having another one….and I remember asking Josh several times if this would mean that the dream of adopting was over. He assured me that we could still adopt “someday.” In July of 2010, our THIRD son was born! When he was only weeks old, I began looking at agencies again. I even filled out twelve (of the thirteen pages) of an application online. “It’s too soon…he’s still a baby….” were the responses I got when I would broach the subject. “Let’s give it a little while and enjoy our little guy.” This was hard for an impatient gal to hear! I saved the application online (on the agency’s website), and it wouldn’t be until September of 2013 that I would look to see if it was still there….
During that time, I found comfort in a quote I had heard years before: “The Holy Spirit will not continue to foster a desire He doesn’t intend to keep.” Oh, how this kept my hopes up over the years. Every time I would doubt that adoption was actually the Lord’s plan for our family…..that Blackaby quote would come to mind. I would think of the statistic we had heard at one of the seminars- that out of all the Christians who say they would like to adopt, only 2% actually do! I would tell that Lord that I really didn’t want to be a part of the 98%! I didn’t fully understand then all that the Lord was teaching me….about patience, about faith, about His character and His will. In hindsight, it’s easy to see that He indeed fostered that desire, but that it wasn’t His timing. It took years for His glorious plan to unfold! During the years of waiting, though, we would fast and pray…and we would receive fun, little gifts from the Lord. I remember being on the freeway one day and the car in front of me had a license plate that read: CHNAGRL. We went to an Esterlyn concert and the band shared the story of how they named themselves after the lead singer’s niece, who was adopted from China. I read Mary Beth Chapman’s book, called Choosing To See, and bawled for hours when the Chapman’s daughter, Maria, died. The point is….that throughout those years….the longing was always there. The thoughts, hopes, and dreams of “someday” never dwindled. My prayer journals are proof that our deepest desires to adopt a baby weren’t fleeting.
It was a Monday night in September of 2013, and my Bible study group was doing a study of Nehemiah. In our video that night, the leader highlighted a friend’s story…of adopting a little girl from China. All of my friends looked at me with little smiles. (After all, by this time….they had been praying for us and our would-be daughter for years!) Early the next morning, I decided to check to see if our application was still saved. It was…and there was only one little section to complete. I completed it and couldn’t find the button to “save” it again. I finally clicked on “submit,” thinking that it would save it. Well, who would have thought that the word “submit” would actually mean “submit?!” I internally freaked out a little bit, after I received a confirmation that our application had actually been submitted to America World Adoption Agency. I ran in and tapped Josh, who was still sleeping. I told him that I needed to confess something. He said something to the effect of…”It’s okay….we want to do this….so I guess now is the time.” I was in shock and over the moon! We paid the application fee that day….and flew to Washington for a family vacation. On September 11, 2013, the AWAA called to let us know that we had been accepted into their program. It would be a little over a week before we would fill out the “Family Agreement” and email it to our family coordinator.
It took us way too long to complete our dossier! I homeschool our two oldest boys (now aged 13 and 9)….and between that and chasing a toddler around….the paper work piled up. Josh is a general contractor and owns his own business, so between his busy schedule and taking care of our three boys….we would fail to meet goal after goal of when we wanted to be done. There were doctor’s appointments, labs, background checks, letters to write, letters to obtain, financial statements, online trainings, fingerprints, etc….and at times, it seems that we would never actually finish. We would get overwhelmed, frustrated, doubtful, and even angry at times…over things that didn’t go as planned. Our physicals and labs had to be redone, several trips to Los Angeles were made, we made countless trips to notaries and government offices, and FINALLY….on February 13, 2015….our dossier was on its way to China! Through all of those ups and downs…the hard moments and the sweet ones….we prayed….and we continued to long for that little baby girl that the Lord had in store for our family. Our dossier made it to China without any issues and then all we had to do was….wait.
One March day, I was looking at the waiting children on our agency’s website and a little one wearing pink cheetah print caught my eye. I took a screen shot and texted Josh, saying, “Could this be Quinn?” ……
You can read the other posts in this series here.
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