Adoption. God has used that single word to completely turn our lives upside down and create a growing passion in us that once was simply a nice thought. He has used that word to show us the true meaning of his own love and acceptance towards us. He has used this word to show us how beauty can come from tragedy, and how love can abundantly grow for your child who was first a stranger.
My husband and I met when we were just 6 and 7 years old. When we were first married at the young ages of 21 and 22, we had dreams of one day starting a family together. And like I mentioned, adoption was thrown into the conversation as a ‘nice thought’ that maybe someday would make a good reality. We wanted to get pregnant first. It seemed ‘natural.’ We waited until Matt returned home from his deployment to kind-of-but-not-really start trying.
Soon that type of trying became more urgent. I was encouraged by a friend to see a doctor to help us. Instead of the help that I wanted, he delivered news that I never thought I would receive. I had large cysts all over my ovary that could possibly be cancerous. I was referred to an oncologist to perform a surgery that could result in a total hysterectomy. I was devastated at the thought. What kind of woman; what kind of wife was I if I couldn’t have a baby? My identity was completely wrapped up in all the wrong ideas. When the surgery was successful and basically left me with enough ‘essentials’ to still get pregnant, I was incredibly relieved. But this, this was when God started the real-deal adoption work in our hearts. It wasn’t noticeable yet, but looking back now, I see it. What I couldn’t see was a precious baby boy, nine thousand miles away, beginning the wait for his forever family…
Fast forward a few months, and I was pregnant. I thought God was finally answering my prayers! I know now that He was, but not in the way I wanted or expected. We soon found out that it was an ectopic pregnancy. My doctor was convinced my tube would burst. But against all odds, God once again saved my ‘essentials’ and worked a miracle. It was not the miracle we had asked for, but a miracle nonetheless. It took me three long and painful months to fully miscarry. Our sweet baby went to heaven ahead of us. And, again, God was quietly working on my heart. He was lovingly and gently forming in my heart and my husband’s heart a desire that we would soon, but not yet recognize. After a few more months that consisted of treatments and then trying to get pregnant, we were given the news that changed everything. And finally, after all this time, we knew that I would not be getting pregnant unless we pursued IVF. Immediately, we had no peace with this option. That is the only way I know how to explain it. The very day I received that life-altering news was the very day I got on my phone to look at adoption agencies. The desire for international adoption was intensely and strangely strong. And after three days, just three days, my husband suddenly shared the same desire. Only God could do that! He had worked yet another miracle that we hadn’t asked for. He had not healed my body, but my heart. He knew something that we didn’t. He knew our son was waiting.
My family has been involved with mission work in Thailand for years. I had traveled to Thailand when I was 15 years old, but had never dreamed that someday adoption from this beautiful country would be an option. When we saw that Thailand was listed on an agency’s website, we were immediately drawn to it. God continued to open doors, and we continued to walk through them. After just experiencing two years’ worth of unexpected medical expenses shortly after purchasing our first home, we knew that this adoption process would never work without God mightily providing. And he did! Oh, how he did. Friends and two local businesses organized fundraisers, we sold t-shirts, applied for grants, and watched as God provided for every single fee. Another miracle.
As we prepared to settle in for the long wait to get matched, God had something else in mind. Before our official paperwork was sent to Thailand, on the evening of March 24th, 2017, we received an email with pictures of four children who would soon go on the waiting child list. These children were unable to be matched with waiting families for different reasons. The very first picture was of a little boy wearing a bright blue shirt with a huge cartoon character all across the front. He had the cutest stare with dark, curious eyes. I would love to write that it was love at first sight, but in all honesty, I never thought that he could be our son. I was convinced that we had a long wait in front of us. There was no way God could finally be making it this easy on us. My husband encouraged me to inquire about this little guy, and nervously, I did. We waited for three days only to be told no; another family already had his file. I was confident that they would accept the match. I mean, he was perfect! Why wouldn’t they? But they didn’t. And the very same day, we got the call and the email with his file. He was perfect. With every picture we saw and every sentence we read about him we knew he was ours. We knew we had been waiting for him and he for us. We eagerly accepted the match just one day later. And so, began the wait to travel and bring home our Kai guy.
We met our son on February 28th, 2018. Absolutely nothing can describe that day, that moment, that feeling. The awe of watching your child walk through the doorway and into your life is indescribable. The pain of watching how terrified they are as their whole world turns upside down and life as they know it comes to a screeching halt is heart-wrenching. It’s absolutely incredible how something so beautiful can simultaneously be filled with so much pain.
Adoption is beautiful. We’ve been able to watch the trust that has grown in Kai’s heart as he learns that we love him, that we will meet his needs, and that we will never leave. We’ve seen and felt the love that not only continues to grow in our hearts for Kai, but in Kai’s heart for us. We’ve listened to him say ‘I love you’ for the first time, unprompted. We’ve watched him become more and more confident in our house, our yard, our neighborhood, our church and our town. God has given us a front-row seat to watch this beautiful, sweet boy find that he truly belongs and has always and will always be chosen. I pray that he always knows how true this is.
I’ve heard adoption described as a broken hallelujah. And that’s exactly what it is. The redemption that is adoption cannot take place without the brokenness. The brokenness that occurs in the child’s life, and maybe even the brokenness in the lives of the adoptive parents themselves that happened through the loss of a child or fertility, like in our case. So much brokenness. Then comes the redemption. The moment of adoption. The moment a family is finally made whole. The moment an orphan is an orphan no more. It’s a beautiful story of rescue and redemption and family and love and beauty from brokenness.
If you have been thinking or praying about adoption, be encouraged friend! It is a hard, long road, but so incredibly worth it! So much so that we are in the beginning of the process to adopt again. We cannot wait to meet and bring home our Thai baby #2 and are excited to watch God work more awesome miracles as he continues to lovingly and faithfully write our story. Yes, adoption is a broken hallelujah. And we are forever thankful to our Father in Heaven for weaving this hallelujah into our story.”
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