Adoption has always been God’s “Plan A.” Ephesians 1:5 says “He (The Father) predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” These stories are from those who have chosen adoption as “Plan A.”
Today Baylor shares part one of her story (She will share part two on Saturday):
It’s a daunting thing to sit down and try encapsulate all that the Lord has done in my life over the last five years. So much of who I thought I was and wanted to be has changed; and I owe all of that to God alone.
It was the spring of 2010, and my husband and I were sitting in church one Sunday morning listening to our pastor teach out of Ruth. In the middle of the sermon, the Lord did something He seems to reserve for very special occasions in my life. He spoke directly to me. You are going to adopt. I froze. Did I hear that right? But there was nothing else. I looked at Adam out of the corner of my eye, afraid to say anything because I wasn’t sure how he would react. At that point, we had been married for just three years, he was still a student, and I had developed this habit of dropping crazy ideas in his lap and saying, “I think we are supposed to do this.”
But this idea was a big one. So I held my tongue until we were in the car.
Before I could even begin to broach the subject, though, my sweet husband looked at me and said, “I think we are supposed to adopt.”
It is rare for me to be left speechless, but I most certainly was at that moment. We dove into the conversation immediately, amazed that God had so clearly spoken to us at the same moment. We agreed that right then did not feel like the right time, but we were so excited to see where God would take us.
As time passed, we began to feel like we were in a place to start having children. We wanted to grow our family both through biology and adoption, and we felt like having biological kids first was the way to go. Adam was still finishing up some post-graduate work, and money was tight. More than a year passed, and it was still just the two of and the dog. We began to really pray and ask God what was going on. He led us to start the adoption process.
Originally, we thought that China was where the Lord was leading, but then we found out that we were not old enough. Again, we prayed and asked the Lord what He had for us. We were drawn to the continent of Africa. The agency we wanted to use adopted out of three African countries at the time: Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Congo program was a pilot, and they were only taking so many families I thought for sure our child was in Uganda, but as we inquired into the program, we found out that there were some changes happening within the Ugandan government that would directly impact our family, and we felt like the Lord was closing that door, too. So we turned to Ethiopia. We met all of the requirements and to top it off, during the month we were making the final decision, our church began a month long prayer initiative for the horn of Africa. We felt like the Lord was confirming for us that our first child would be born in Ethiopia.
I’ll be honest. It was hard to accept the reality that it would be so much longer before we would be parents. But as time passed, I fell IN LOVE with the idea of first becoming a mother through adoption. You see, I am the oldest in my family, and I LOVE that I am the one who made my mom a mom and my dad a dad. And I was at the time (and am especially now) so over the moon that my son will always know that he is the one who made me a mom.
On April 10, 2012 we sent in our Ethiopia adoption application and began the months long paperwork process to get on our agency’s waiting list. We went to interviews, took classes, read books, attended conferences, got originals of every document under the sun, wrote our autobiographies, put our finances on paper, got letters of reference, had our fingerprints taken an insane number of times, had our home inspected, figured out our net worth, got physicals and had about eight thousand pieces of paper notarized. It took four months, but we finally got everything together and completed our homestudy.
We were finally a waiting family. Number 86 on our agency’s wait list to be precise.
I have to tell you something else here, in order for our story to be completely transparent. A few months after we started our homestudy process, we realized that it might be a good idea to go to the doctor and make sure there was nothing physically wrong (cancer, cysts, etc.) that was keeping us from conceiving. After a few rounds of testing by a specialist, we were told that, without serious medical intervention, we would not be able to have biological children. We were stunned. It had really never entered our minds that we might not have biological children at all. But God was asking us to let go of what we thought life would and should look like and to trust Him instead.
It was so impossibly hard. We were so excited about our little one in Ethiopia, and we were mourning the loss of what we had dreamed our family would look like. But we tried our best to hang on to each other and to the Lord and to trust His sovereignty.
So our journey as a waiting family began.
At the time, we were told that we should expect to be matched in approximately eleven to twelve months. So we settled in for a year long wait, anxiously dreaming of the day that our phone would ring and we would hear the magic words: You have been matched!
Months slipped by, and soon more than a year had passed. Things in Ethiopia drastically slowed down. Agencies began closing or pausing their Ethiopia programs. Then, two days after Christmas of 2013, a report came out of an Ethiopian news network that the country would be closing its doors to international adoption in the next ten days.
Our hearts were shattered. We were at my parents’ home for Christmas, and I can still remember so clearly sitting on the floor of my old room with Adam sobbing and praying, begging God to intervene, telling Him that I would let go of everything else if He would just please let us bring our child home from Ethiopia. We had felt so certain that this was God’s path for our family. Could He really be asking us to let go of having any children at all?
Thankfully, Ethiopia did not close its doors. Instead, all international adoptions were halted for six excruciating months. No children were matched with their families. Orphanages suffered greatly as more and more children arrived but none left. Waiting families here ached with longing for their children.
Finally, in early summer of 2014, we began to see movement again. Little by little, we started inching up the waiting list, but things were moving so slowly that it was looking like it could be YEARS before we would be matched with our child. A few months later, some representatives from our agency went to Ethiopia to check on things and determine whether Ethiopia was still a viable option for families seeking to adopt. The news we received was discouraging. The Ethiopia program would remain open to families already in-process, but those same families could also choose to transfer all of their paperwork to a different program as the expectation was that things would not pick up anytime soon.
Again, we were heartbroken. We felt that we had heard the Lord so clearly telling us that our first child would be born in Ethiopia, yet it seemed that it would impossible. Adam and I talked for a long time. I wanted to leave our paperwork in Ethiopia and pursue a concurrent adoption through another program. I was so desperate to become a mom (at this point we had been in process with Ethiopia for two and a half years) that I had lost sight of my faith in God. Thankfully, I am married to a strong and Godly man who reminded me that the last thing the Lord told us to do was adopt from Ethiopia. He pointed me back to to the story of Abraham in Genesis and reminded me that God promised him a child, too, and that Abraham ended up trying to circumvent God’s will through Hagar, which ended in so much pain and suffering. We shored up our hearts and decided that we would continue to wait for God to bring us our Ethiopian son or daughter.
It was September 2014.
And I am so glad that the Lord gave us the strength to wait because, two months later, on November 29, 2014, we got the call we had been praying for for more than two and half years.
It was half time of the Iron Bowl and my phone rang. A Birmingham number I didn’t recognize. But as soon as I said hello and heard our case manager’s voice on the other end of the line, I knew. Phone in my right hand, my left hand shot out and clutched Adam’s arm. My polite response to the woman calling to tell me I was a mom?
“Can you please tell me why you’re calling me right now?”
And she said the words I had been begging to hear: “There’s a little boy.”
I was hysterical, and Adam was barely keeping it together as she told us what little information they had about our son. OUR SON. And then we finally got to see his sweet face.
Since that day I have tried so hard to explain what it is like to get a phone call telling you that you are a mom, what it is like to look at a photo of a child who is not related to you and know instantly that he is you and that he is the reason the Lord called you to adopt. I’m convinced there is nothing else like it in the world. To fall so instantly in love with a total stranger can only be the result of God’s infinite power……..Read more on Saturday!
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