I was 22 when I met my husband and he already had a child. A spunky, blonde-haired, blue-eyed burst of energy in an 8-year-old little boy body. My husband and I married when I was 24, and I immediately fell pregnant. I say “fell,” as I was told in college by a well-meaning nurse that my PCOS would prevent me from ever having children. Nine months later, I was a 25-year-old mother of a 10-year-old and a newborn baby boy. By the time I was 27, we had our 3 boys and our family was complete. Or so we thought.
I spent most of my adult life working with ministries in churches as a youth minister while dabbling in both children’s and music ministries as well. During this time, there was very little spoken about adoption within the church apart from the Bible actually commanding that we take care of the widows and the orphans. There was a lot of money raised to be sent overseas, a lot of children sponsored through Compassion. All of these things very admirable and very worthy causes, yet very little about adoption or foster care was spoken. As my husband and I grew to learn more about adoption through social media and the few friends we knew who adopted, we both felt the idea of adoption become more real to us. What would it look like if we adopted? There is NO WAY we could afford it. Maybe when the kids are older. Maybe when we are more financially stable. Maybe.
In my work as a youth minister, we often encountered teens that had a rough home life. After a while, my husband and I thought, “maybe this is how we will adopt.” There would be a teen who would need a place to stay and could move in with us for a time. It wasn’t necessarily adoption, but we readied our hearts to take in a teen when the time was right. While we encountered some rough situations with teens here and there, there was luckily always a family member that they could go with, or we were able to work with their parents to get everyone back on track. As time went on, we still felt led to adopt, but there was no way we could afford the “traditional” route, so we just waited for the right time.
It was when my youngest son was 18 months old that my mom called me. She was out of state, and informed me that an acquaintance of ours was pregnant, wanted to place the baby for adoption, and our name came up in the conversation. It was in that moment that I knew, and my mom knew, this was it. I immediately told her, “Have her call me.” I then called my husband, who was immediately on board. We were going to adopt a baby! We spoke with the expectant mom about twice before communication stopped. I was finally able to reach her when she informed me she had decided to parent.
I was honestly happy for her, but more confused for us. We felt so strongly that this was why we had felt that pull to adopt, but it was not going to happen. She had chosen to parent, as she had every right to do, yet we still felt a little empty and confused. A few months passed and life went on without adoption really coming up again. At that time, through the confusion, that pull to adopt faded a bit. We didn’t think we would never adopt, but felt uncertain, as we were so sure about the last time.
In late August, I got a call at 1 AM. It was the expectant mother. She had the baby early. A beautiful baby girl. I congratulated her, but quickly took notice of her tone. There are many aspects of this story, but to respect her privacy and the privacy of her daughter, I will not share them here. The bottom line, though, was that she was unable to parent and asked that we come get the baby. We were taken back, but then understood why we felt like we needed to wait in all that time. For this moment.
In another story for another time, due to legalities that needed to take place, our daughter went into foster care and was not able to come home with us until she was 3 ½ months old. By the graciousness of the hospital social worker, we were able to see her for about 5 minutes the day she was born to say hello and goodbye. That day will stand out as one of the happiest and the worst days of my life. Looking in her eyes, then in that moment, I knew this was what we were waiting for. This was when we knew it was all meant to be. Even though we had a fight ahead of us, sitting there with her and her mom, we knew there was nowhere else we needed to be in that moment.
Eighteen months after my daughter was born, her baby brother was born and came to live with us at birth. Neither adoption was planned, nor sought after, but very clearly understood as meant to be. The adoption of my son was very nerve-racking as we were not in a place where we were expecting to adopt again. Our finances were okay but still paycheck to paycheck. We did not know how we would adopt again, but knew it was the route we needed to take. We took time to make a decision, but ultimately knew we were meant to adopt him as well.
I can’t tell for certain HOW we knew we were meant to adopt. We really just knew. Adoption may have not made sense for us at times, but the can really outweighed the how. We knew that adoption would be a difficult journey to undertake, but we knew it would be worth it. We just felt it in our bones that adoption was for us. This process and idea of “meant to be” was also about the birth mother. While her circumstances prevented her from even having the option of parenting, I knew how much she loved her children and wanted to be a part of their lives. Open adoption has allowed that for her, for us, and for our children. They are incredibly loved by all the members of their birth and adoptive families and will hopefully never feel differently in that aspect.
We knew adoption was meant to be because we knew we would to be able to find a way, even if the journey was difficult and marked with unknowns. While adoption is not for everyone, we knew the state of the foster system in our country and the need for homes for children. While our faith played a big part in adoption, it was not the only facet. We took the Bible telling us to help the orphans the widows seriously and didn’t want to just throw money at a problem. Whether we fostered or helped with foster/adoption organizations, we knew we could not just sit back and do nothing. For us, this passion led us to adopt two children, plan for foster care in the future, and led me to write for Adoption.com to educate others on the impact of adoption. Actually adopting or fostering may not be for everyone, but supporting adoption and foster care is for everyone who understands that every child deserves a chance at family.