It’s been a while since we have publicly updated everyone on our adoption journey. So much has happened, yet at the same time there are many days we feel we have made zero progress. Let’s start from the beginning…
In December of 2016 Drew and I began to work with a popular Christian agency and got as far as our second home study (April 2017). Due to some of the things life had thrown at us during our first years of marriage, and the short amount of time that we had been married at the time, they told us they would like us to continue to strengthen our marriage and enjoy being married before we proceeded with them.
“What does that even look like?” “How do you prove you have a stronger marriage?” “When are we going to be ‘strong enough’ to have children?” “Why did we get this far before being told this?”
These were just a fraction of the thousands of questions Drew and I had to wrestle through. Did we need to work on our marriage? Of course, but who doesn’t? Had we only been married a short time? Yes, but we really felt we were ready to start our family! It was extremely painful and confusing time. We counted it as a loss.
Our journey had hit a barricade head on.
When someone who doesn’t know you personally is just checking boxes on a checklist and questions your marriage you have two choices…
1. Believe the lies they are telling you.
2. Fight with everything you have in you to prove them absolutely 100% wrong.
Drew and I only saw one option. We had to prove them wrong. Whoever “they” were. The next two years we spent working on us. We were intentional in learning how to communicate better. We went to counseling and worked through an amazing book about how to “argue” (if you haven’t read Created for Connection it is worth every penny). I know, it sounds ridiculous, how to “argue”, but it has been transformational in our marriage. We established a routine for our week, making each week look as similar as possible, so we are on the same page. Finally, we decided that we refuse to give up us time to please someone else and their agenda.
So, did we get stronger even when we thought we were fine? You bet your butt. Looking back, being told our marriage wasn’t “strong enough” based on a checklist was the BEST thing that ever happened to our marriage.
January 2019, we decide to give this adoption thing another try. We had a personal connection to a local Christian agency and decided to partner with them. We were back on our journey to growing our family. August 2019 we finalized our home studies and in September of 2019 we received our “Congratulations, you’re officially a waiting family” letter. I’m not sure there was a much more glorious day than the day we ripped open that letter. This letter meant that our profile that is created to show birth mothers all about us, our home, our families, our neighborhood, our dreams, etc. was actually going to be shown! We could be chosen any day, week or month. Our agency estimated 12ish months of waiting time. The light was at the end of the tunnel, we could see it!
November 22, 2019 we received an e-mail from the agency we were partnered with. The e-mail simply stated that they were closing their doors. They were no longer able to fund the adoption portion of the agency and were going to continue as just a pregnancy center. That was it. They were done. And our journey once again hit a huge barricade head on.
The agency that closed offered to transfer our file to another agency located in Alabama, but they don’t have a Florida presence. They told us we could wait 4-6 years for a child. In the adoption world that doesn’t just mean 1,460-2,190 days of waiting patiently for a phone call. That means every year that passes results in redoing a ton of paperwork, fingerprints, background checks, physicals, drug tests, blood tests, etc. That means every year that passes is more funds going out the door. Is that something we wanted to sign up for? (Also, we would be 34-36 and 39-41 with a newborn…in other words, looking like grandparents at the kindergarten parent/teacher night.) There were other factors involved in the transfer that Drew and I didn’t feel comfortable with.
”What on earth is our next step?” “How do we get the courage to take the next step?” “When is our family ever going to grow?” “Why is this something we feel called to, yet seems impossible?”
Another list of a thousand questions was formed through conversations with Drew. And the answer to all of them is…We. Don’t. Know.
Here’s what we do know. We know that the Lord has a plan for our lives and our marriage. We know that the Lord is the central part of our marriage. We know that the Lord is doing a great work, even today. We know that there are many people praying for us and our little child. But, we also know that the head knowledge of those things does not make the heart hurt any less.
I don’t write this to receive condolences. I simply write to make people aware. When we began this adoption journey, we had no idea how much heartbreak would be involved. We knew some would be involved but never imagined two losses would be a part of our story. Maybe we were ridiculously naïve. Some may say, “I told you so”. And you’re right, you did. And we listened to your concerns and guidance but, that doesn’t change the desire in our hearts to have adoption be a part of our family story and make up. We feel strongly that the Lord has called us to take in a child as our own, as He did with Drew and I (Eph. 1:5).
So here we are. Basically, we are on I-4 (for you Florida people), without Waze, struggling to find our way due to the many barricades. It’s frustrating, but only a matter of time before we get on the right route to growing our family.
He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.