What Adoption Means: God’s Perfect Plan

“What Adoption Means” Post #4:  This message comes from a professional in the field of social work.  She has worked with families in both domestic adoption and foster care.

“After having watched many families have  failed adoptions through a birth mom changing her mind or a foster family who has loved a child for years and releasing them to reunification, through it all, God’s hands are evident and the children who will join them in the years to come through adoption are clearly in God’s perfect plan and design.”

Adoption work is heavy at times.  It is not always happy, and regardless of what happens in “cases”, someone (foster, adoptive, or birth family) suffers some level of loss.  Through it all, though, one witnesses and is an active player in the unfolding of God’s plan in the lives of children and families.

What Adoption Means: A Life so full of Love

This message was sent to me from a fellow blogger.  Her words of “What Adoption Means to Me” cut right to my heart.  It was as if I was reading my own story; similar in our journeys, despair, and revelation of a mighty God.

I love adoption stories.  I just love them.

You can read more from Amanda on her blog, FrommyplantoHis.

“When I think of adoption the first thing that comes to my mind is redemption. I know when I say that, some people’s first thought is going to jump towards the biblical analogy of God adopting us as heirs. Yes, that form of redemption plays a part in my response, but it goes so much deeper for me. It is redemption of faith, hope, and love.

When I found out our last attempt at fertility treatment ended in failure, it felt as if a nuclear bomb had gone off in my life. Our next step was a hysterectomy, leaving me forever barren. Everything that I had ever hoped, dreamed and desperately prayed for was gone. I no longer knew who I was with the future I’d envisioned shattered. My life was a wasteland. I wept from a place I did not even know existed.

I had prayed many, many times for pregnancy. I knew God was capable of providing an affirmative answer to my pleas. I knew he was capable of miracles and I believed that if I kept praying long enough, eventually I would get mine. I had placed all of my trust in God to provide what I had longed for since I was a little girl.

When that prayer was answered with a resounding “No,” I lost a lot of my faith in God. I lost my faith in praying. I wondered aloud, “What is the point of praying if God was going to do His will anyhow?” I had no idea how I was ever supposed to hope again if my dreams were hopeless. For a time, Satan began to convince me that I was not worthy of God answering my prayers and that was why God did not provide me a miracle.

For two years after my hysterectomy, I fumbled through life, veering wildly between life plans. Some days I would dream of adoption, some days I wondered about becoming Foster Parents, other days I was set that we were going to be a “Complete as Two” couple and I would return to school to begin a lifelong career.

My relationship with God struggled. I was angry, at times like a toddler throwing a tantrum because I did not get “my way.” I wrestled with placing my hopes in Him. I had been raised to believe that prayer was the answer and I wanted to believe that, but a part of me feared what would happen to my Christianity altogether if I put my trust back in him and was again met with broken dreams.

My prayers remained shallow, terrified to rely on Him for any of the major desires of my life. My biggest dream had been denied. I searched for what His will really was for my life. Nothing ever really felt right except my dreams of motherhood, but all I could see was that I was forever barren and adoption seemed like a pipe dream. Time and time again I prayed for God to remove my desire to become a mom if that was not his will for my life.

We decided that I would at least finish up my bachelor’s degree, which would take about two years and then we would figure out where to go from there. I submitted my application and less than a week later, God made his will known.

We received a phone call out of the blue by a minister we knew wondering if we had interest in adoption. We had always been transparent about our struggles through infertility, so he was aware of our situation. He had a woman contact their church looking for someone to place her unborn child with.

It has always amazed me how clearly God can speak. After spending a couple of years wandering and wondering what I was supposed to do with my life, making hollow plans just trying on new identities now that motherhood seemed unlikely, suddenly, it was all laid out in front of us.

That first match ended in a late-term loss. The mother decided to parent in the end. We were devastated, but could no longer deny that this was the path that God wanted us on.

Picking up the pieces, we were matched again six weeks later to a young woman who would go on to become our son’s birthmother.

Describing the moment we met our son makes me tear up every time. There he lay on the warmer, no more than an hour old. The light the shined down on him might as well have been a light shining straight from Heaven.

God looked at us and said, “Him. He is your son. Everything that you have been through was for him. He was waiting for you all along.”

We still had the legal hurdles to get through, but from the moment I met him it was as if my soul recognized him as my son.

When we adopted our son, it was as if every twist and turn, every heartache and sadness suddenly made sense. God had in mind who He needed me to become. Prior to infertility, I was pretty independent and prideful. I talked the talk and walked the walk, but I lacked a sincere dependence on God.

God removed the one thing that mattered most to me and brought me to my knees, both in the sense brokenness and desperate prayers.  I learned what it was to rely on Him. He was the only one that could redeem the amount of pain that I was in. And redeem He did!

Sometimes I wish away the scars of our journey, but now I know that they are a reminder that God fought for my love and for my life. As Hebrews 12:7-11 talks of, He disciplined me as a father does to his Children. He did not deem me unworthy of His love as Satan attempted to convince me. To the contrary, God found me worthy enough to move through my life in a profound way, showing me that He wanted to fight for me as a father who loves his daughter.

We have since been blessed with a daughter. When I hold those children, I am humbly grateful for the journey God has given us. During the heartache, I could never have envisioned a life so full of love. I have been blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of raising these children and even more so, to experience God’s love so convincingly!”

 

What Adoption Means: Adoption Changes Hearts

Here is the second post regarding “What Adoption Means to Me” written by a foster parent:

“Adoption – a word I never dreamed would be a part of my personal journey – but God had other plans

And I am so glad He did! 

He brought a little red-headed boy into our home that opened our horizons to a world we didn’t know existed! 

He has and continues to teach us that choosing to make a difference in a child’s life will definitely change yours! 

Adoption changed us forever – our family, and most importantly our hearts! “

This family sought out to make a difference in a child’s life, but not necessarily with the intention of adding to their family through adoption.  When the case goal changed for the child in their home, they prayed, discussed, and prayed some more about the next step in all of their lives.

They knew that the Lord brought not just any child into their lives, but the boy who would become their son.

Adoption changes lives.  Adoption changes hearts.  

What Adoption Means: Thoughts from a Birth Mother

In recognition of National Adoption Month here in the United States, I’ve asked other people whose lives have been touched by adoption to share thoughts with the theme of “What Adoption Means to Me”.

What Adoption Means to Me

-Thoughts from a Birth Mother

“Adoption means despite the poor choices I made, there was a solution. Adoption means I was able to give my precious baby girl to a couple who was praying to God for a miracle.

Adoption means my precious baby girl could have a wonderful, loving childhood without being deprived of necessities. Adoption means I was able to grow up and finish my education without the challenges of being an unmarried teenage mother.

Adoption means I cherish my own children even more, now that I am married and better prepared to be a mother.

Adoption means I now have a new friend, whom I gave life to. She is amazing. I love her kind heart and compassion. She has a beautiful family, loving parents and siblings and I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know her.

I am so thankful for her parents, who raised her in such a way that she has no bitter feelings, no anger toward me and were supportive of her finding me when the time was right.

For that precious baby girl, adoption has made her who she is today and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Adoption means an opportunity for God to turn the unexpected into something beautiful.

Worth It All

As November wrapped up and I was putting away our Thanksgiving decor, I thought about what an eventful month we had.  To be able to adopt a child in the month that is designated as National Adoption Month was a wonderful thing.  Recently, I was asked how I felt about adoption.  I’m not even sure I will ever find the words that truly describe how I feel about it.  My answer went something like this, “Adoption offered me the opportunity to parent my children, and in parenting, I am able to see glimpses of God’s grace and mercy.”

Maybe that is not the answer expected, or even understood, but it is one that I find myself returning to.  Of course, adoption means so many different things to me.  It has layers upon layers of meaning, but yet, I still come back to these two things:

GRACE and MERCY

Grace.  Parenting is grace in action.  It is a recipe made up of mistakes, successes, frustrations, celebrations, and growth for everyone involved.  Recently, I said to my daughter, “I’ve told you so many times not to do that.  Why are you still doing it?”  In the same breath after I said it, I felt a little jolt of the realization that I too have been told to not do things, and yet, I still do them.  Over and over.  Time after time.  Each day though, I wake up anew with the same thought that not only does my Heavenly Father love me, He also saturates my life with grace.

Mercy.  Adoption is mercy.  It is the collision of love, compassion, and the heart-felt yearning to devote one’s life to another.  It is the recognition that merciful love poured into all of our lives.  Merciful Love intervened.  It moved us to new places, and settled us into our places of belonging.  Through adoption, we are able to get a sweet taste of love that speaks, “Yes.  Yes, you.”

Our little boy with whom we adopted recently is thriving, happy, and very much-loved by all of us.  Since our son and daughter are also adopted, it was an awesome opportunity to teach them more about the process, and reasons behind it.  Throughout this experience, our children have learned that adoption, in many ways, involves sacrifice.  Our son and daughter both had to move to different rooms to accommodate for the baby. They both learned that mommy and daddy needed a little more time with the baby to meet his needs; which in turn, meant less time with them.

Big SisThey also learned that love was the motivator for helping out the baby who was in need. They knew that his birth parents were not able to take care of him, and that he needed somewhere to go.

In essence, they learned of grace and mercy.

I’m so thankful for this past year of our lives.  It has been a difficult one, but also one with enriching moments that included many valuable lessons.  Adoption has proven again that the Lord is truly faithful, especially during the times when I felt complete exhaustion and worry.BigBro

When asked my thoughts about adoption, I may continue to stumble over my words. Honestly, there are so many ways to describe it.

It is grace.  It is mercy.  It is love.  It is growth.  It is the notion that we are chosen.  It is sacrifice.  It is hard, and easy at the same time.  It is love.  It is incredible.  It is humbling.  It is redemptive.  It is compassion.

It is worth it all. 

Thread of Adoption

photo (26)Our kids really do not know much of life before each other.  Our son was just over 2-years-old when a nice lady knocked on the front door and delivered a brown-haired beauty in a car seat.  He just knew he had a sister on the way.  He even proclaimed it during a car ride to preschool one morning.

Adoption brings together strangers.  Strangers, born from other wombs, connected through the predestined establishment of sisterhood and brotherhood.  It binds hearts to each other.  It creates brothers and sisters.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

IMG_0151

IMG_0456My children’s relationship is not any different from other sibling relationships.  They are each other’s first friend, first playmate, first person to blame for wrongdoings, and first person to lean on when needing to convince mom and dad of something.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

Sometimes, they hurt each other. He gets just a little rough.  She gets just a little dramatic.  He seems to always be in a hurry. She seems to take her own sweet time. Sometimes though, they hold hands and run together.

They are each other’s sounding boards about what Santa might bring, or if the Easter Bunny is actually real.  Sometimes, they even try to convince each other to ask Santa for the same presents so that his elves have to “make” two of everything.  (Or, at least, big brother has to ask Santa….)

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

IMG_0050They explore worlds, both real and imaginary.  They seek out new adventures, create whimsical and wonderful characters, and fight the bad guys as a united team.

They get dirty, cause messes, and  create life-long memories of the fleeting days of childhood.

IMG_0646Through adoption, their childhoods have been given refuge from the hardships that this world can bring.

Their little lives move along with the changing of the seasons.

In this home, and in this family, they find warmth, opportunity, and the occasional chance every winter to throw snow on IMG_0660mommy.

(Sometimes, mommy throws it back on them.)

Two children.  Two reminders that love exists, and life is worth it. Two children who, without adoption, would have never known each other.

Two children, born of other birth mothers, forever sealed in love through adoption.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

They know their stories are a little different from their friends.  They have asked why they don’t have the same birth mothers.  They have even announced that they have birth mothers to total strangers at the grocery store, which makes strangers a little uncomfortable.  And…makes my heart smile.

They question why some of their friends only have one mother.  IMG_1059Often, they ask about their birth mothers.  They want to know their names.  They want to know if they are dead or alive, or if they have a home.  They want to know where they are.  My husband and I answer every question to the best of our ability, and with loving honesty.  We answer them because we know that our comfort with their histories will only help them as they grow up.

To be honest, I love my children so much that it saddens me to know that they were not able to grow up in their families of origins.  Sounds strange, huh?  I know.  Yet, I know that in the great and mysterious workings of the Lord, we found each other.  We found them, and, they found each other.  Brother and sister.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

I am thankful for my children.  Adoption has made me a mother.  I am also thankful that they have each other.  They have something that my husband and I do not. They have the shared experience of adoption.  I have been asked over and over if they are “real” siblings.  Yes.  YesThey are very real siblings.  They were brought together from the tragedies of lives lived in chaos, and from the belief that every child deserves a safe, and stable place to set roots, sprout wings, and fly.

375917_341839525907009_1617492878_nSometimes, just sometimes, I catch moments like this one above.  Moments of tenderness. Moments of affection.  Moments of a relationship formed through the great miracle that is adoption.  

photo (27)Soon, very soon, adoption will offer them just one more “forever” sibling to discover worlds with, to blame for wrongdoings, to make messes, to throw snow on mommy, to talk about birth mothers with, and to love.  Brothers and sister.  Forever.

 Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread – a thread of beauty, patience, and prayer.

For this, I am truly thankful. 

Here’s to Adoption

NOVEMBER IS DESIGNATED AS A MONTH OF THANKSGIVING, AND CELEBRATING ADOPTION.  

Last year, I published a new post each day with poems, stories, and information about adoption.  This year, I’d like to focus this month with how adoption has created a greater sense of thankfulness in my life.  I’d like to do so with images of moments in my children’s lives.

Here are some images of my son from his first gymnastics meet last Spring.  He was 6-yrs-old at the time.  This meet was a “practice” one since he was too young to compete in the regular meets.  

Hunter Bailey 36

In December, we start traveling for his competitions, and I can hardly wait to watch him.  I’m so proud of the hard work he puts in, and the determination he has to continue perfecting the sport – all of this at the age of 7.
Hunter Bailey 22

Another thing, that always seems to stir my heart a bit while watching him, is the thought that all of this may not have been possible for him had he not been adopted.  Please do not get me wrong…I know the ideal situation is for children to stay with their birth parents.  Parents should be able and willing to care for them, make wise choices, remain substance free, and provide the stability that every child desires, and deserves.

However, in foster care/adoption situations such as my son’s, the plan to reunify with birth family changed to adoption.  I know in my heart that his birth parents longed to provide him what he needed, and truly wanted to raise their son, but they could not.  I also know that his life would have been tragically different had he remained in the environment to which he was born.
Hunter Bailey 43

I believe that our paths were created to cross with a fierce, all-knowing, and powerful love that comes from a Heavenly Father who doesn’t forget a single child; even when others do.

I am so thankful for this. 
Hunter Bailey 3So, here’s to adoption.  Here’s to the incredible opportunities that exist because of it.  Here’s to the multitude of orphans who have landed in a soft spot called home.  Here’s to the birth parents who choose adoption.  Here’s to the case workers, attorneys, juvenile officials, and judges who work tirelessly for the well-being of children.

Here’s to the families, such as mine and many others I know, who took the biggest leap of faith when they signed on the dotted line to become foster and foster/adoptive parents.  Here’s to the moments, such as the ones shown in this post, that provide parents, grandparents, and children with memories that last a lifetime.  I am so thankful for these.

Hunter Bailey 31And, here’s to the children who wait for families to call their own.  Here’s to their hopes, dreams, and longings to belong, and to have a mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, and just about anyone else who will stay with them – forever.

Here’s to the miraculous, and hope-filled journey that is adoption.

Heavenly Permanence

For my last post in recognition and celebration of National Adoption Month, I wanted to write something so bold, fresh, and new that everyone would want to become a foster and adoptive parent.  I wanted to try to list every well-known person (alive or deceased) who has either been adopted or who has adopted children.  I considered writing about persons in Scripture who were considered to be adopted, or at least, raised by persons other than their biological parents

I realized, though, that none of this compares to the incredible and profound blessing of our adoption by our Heavenly Father.  Through the sacrifice of His son and our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have been given an Eternal inheritance, and the promise of His love and His care.  We are sealed  by His grace.

The word permanency comes up often in child welfare.  Permanency refers to the goal of achieving something permanent in children’s lives.  I like to refer to it as the final place a child gets to call home.  We talk about the goals to attain permanency for children in the system all of the time.  Well, with the Lord, the goal has already been met and achieved!

Our permanency is in Heaven!  Now, isn’t that something to celebrate!!

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” -2 Corinthians 6:18

My Life’s Song

Here we are in the last few days of November and the last week of National Adoption Month.  This past month I have posted something each day that I hope has inspired people to take care of children through adoption and foster care.  I’d like to share some insights I’ve learned as an adoptive parent.  Here’s the first one:

Through the adoption of my children I have learned that my life was planned and designed with great purpose.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that growing up I never really understood or appreciated the concept of a life planned in advance; especially if the plan included the heart-wrenching grief of infertility.  I did not comprehend how a loving God could or would allow infertility, even though barrenness is written about in Scripture.  I certainly never envisioned myself as a mother.  I just didn’t think it was “in the cards” for my life.

Seeking the Lord and the adoption of my children have both revealed to me that mothering was written into my life story.  My children were planned for me, and I was planned for them.  Despite the medical problem I had that resulted in being barren, I was still designed with the great purpose of motherhood by the God that created the Heavens and the Earth.

Some call it fate.  Some may say I lucked into being able to adopt.  I choose not to call it either of these things.  I call it the grace of the Lord and His Divine Plan.  I call it the presence of a living God whose works are ones of love.  I call it the pouring out of His blessings.  I call it a mission-filled and purposeful design.

Adoption really is my life’s song.  My children are the instruments.  Our experience together is the melody.  The Lord is the composer, and, from time to time, you just might catch me dancing to it.

“For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The Chosen Heart

THE CHOSEN HEART

Longing for a child to love,
I’d wish upon the stars above.
In my heart I always knew,
A part of me was meant for you.

I think how happy we will be,
Once I adopt you, and you adopt me.

I dream of all the joy you’ll bring,
Imagining even the littlest things.
The way it will feel to hold you tight
And tuck you in every night.

The drawings on the refrigerator door
And childhood toys across the floor,
The favorite stories read again and again
And hours of fun with make believe friends.

The day you took my outstretched hand
A journey ended but our love began.
Still mesmerized by your sweet face
Still warmed inside by our first embrace.

I promised to give you a happy home
And a loving family all your own.
A house you’ve now made complete 
with laughter,smiles, and tiny feet.

A parent is one who guides the way
Know I will be there every day
Rest easy as each night you sleep
A lifetime of love is yours to keep

Longing for a child to love
I’d wish upon the stars above.
In my heart I always knew
A part of me belonged to you.

-Teri Harrison

This is another one of my favorite adoption poems.  I especially love that it speaks of the sense of belonging between parent and child, and of being meant for each other.  I know that I was meant to be the mother of my children, and they were meant to be mine.  They just traveled their way to me in different vessels!

Have a wonderful day!