“A little over 6 years ago, my husband and I decided to have our first child. We struggled with infertility for about 3 years before we had our daughter, Grey, who was born extremely premature at 25 weeks. She weighed just under a pound (450 grams) when she was born. She was such a tiny fighter that worked so hard for each ounce gained and each breath she took. We prayed for each part of her body, starting at her head and working our way down.
I struggled during that time with wanting a ‘normal baby’ to show off to the world as the rest of my friends seemed to get to do, but we had an amazing opportunity of witnessing a miracle happen right before our eyes. We spent one hundred and twenty-nine days in the NICU before bringing her home. We are still so grateful for the many hands who helped care for her while she was in the hospital. We praise God for saving her life and allowing us to bring her home.
After bringing Grey home, we had many follow up appointments and concerns about her health. We saw many specialists that helped with her care and it kept us busy focusing on her lung development and weight gain. During this time, we discussed the idea of having another child and growing our family. We always pictured having a larger family, but with our struggle with infertility and Grey being a micro-preemie, the idea of having a larger family was a little overwhelming and out of reach.
My husband Ryan and I both felt a call from the Lord to adopt even before we had our daughter, but after our struggle with her, we decided to pursue adoption a little more. A lot of times it’s about taking the first step. It can be scary and unknown, but we prayed about it and we decided to reach out to friends and ask about their experience with adoption which led us to apply to an agency and completing our home study.
I was struggling with patience at that time in my life because Grey was three years old and I was ready to have our next child, so I wanted the adoption to be quick. I wanted the birth-mom to be well into her third trimester so the chances of the NICU would be slim, and as terrible as this sounds, I wouldn’t have to develop a strong relationship with her to avoid the emotional ups and downs that long adoption journey inevitably brings. We sent in our completed profile at the end of December 2017 and waited to hear the call that God answered our prayers.
He did answer, and we got matched at the end of January to a baby boy who was to be born in just a couple weeks in Florida. As soon as we read his story, I immediately felt connected and my eyes filled with tears of joy thinking this could be our son. Once we said yes, our birth mom was scheduled for her next doctor’s appointment.
We were under the impression that this appointment would let us know when we would need to travel down to meet our baby. However, we received a phone call that he would not be born in a couple of weeks like previously told, but that our birth-mom was actually only halfway through her pregnancy and she would not be due until April. This news brought tears and I immediately started to fear the unknowns ahead. I knew now that this was going to be a long journey. God knew I wanted a quick adoption, but He also knew that our precious son’s life was meant for our family. I’m not sure we would have matched if we knew his real due date, but God was not only writing our story but also his.
After the unexpected change in plans, we continued to talk with our birth-mom, and I am happy I was able to develop a good relationship with her. We talked at least once or twice a day. We were able to visit her and even go to a doctor’s appointment with her. The extra time was a great opportunity for us to get to know her. We were able to get a picture with her while she was still pregnant that we will be able to share with him and talk about where he came from.
We waited for our son’s due date with anticipation. It was nerve-wracking and the highs were high, but the lows were very low. The day finally came, and we decided to head down to Florida when she was 39 weeks. We continued to have contact with her by phone and we planned to meet her at her 39-week appointment for possible induction. The day came, and I hadn’t heard anything from her. I was a little concerned because our communication was daily, and the plan was to meet her at the doctor’s office, but we heard nothing.
We decided to get in the car and head to her appointment. We had already been there, so we knew where we were going. We were staying with family, so we had about a two-hour drive to the hospital. As soon as we got in the car, we received a phone call from our attorney, who was facilitating the adoption, and he had bad news. He said, unfortunately, our birth mom changed her mind and she had already delivered and decided to continue parenting. We were devastated. We pulled over to talk through our options. Our attorney said he would try to contact her, and we could try to do the same. I texted and called but no response. Hours went by with no word and our attorney suggested that we head home. However, we felt differently.
Two weeks prior to going to Florida, the Lord placed it on my heart to get a gift for our birth-mom once she delivered. I thought of things that she would like while in the hospital and put a little gift bag together. I had lotion, new soft pajamas, Chapstick, and the Jesus Calling book. After finding out she changed her mind my husband and I decided that we still wanted to give her this gift.
We wanted her to know that we forgave her, and we understood her decision to parent. We have been given so much grace and I wanted her to feel the same. After lunch and talking about our situation my husband and I decided that we would go up to the Labor and Delivery unit and give her the gift. We put a card with it that explained how we forgave her and loved her despite things not working out as we hoped.
The nerves were high as we walked into the hospital and headed up to the unit. I had no idea how this would go but I was not expecting anything from it except to give her the gift and hopefully get some closure. By now it was 2:30 p.m. and he was born at 9:50 a.m. When we arrived at the unit, the nurses asked who we were and we said we were the adoptive parents of a child who was recently born.
They were surprised to hear from us and asked us to wait in the lobby. There was clearly more going on behind the doors. We waited and contemplated leaving multiple times. Two hours went by and I received a text that changed our entire life. ‘Where are you?’ It was our birth-mom. I responded, ‘We are in the lobby.’ As soon as I replied the doors opened and the nurses asked us to come back and meet our son. We were in complete shock. Our birth-mom changed her mind, again.
There were multiple reasons that led to her difficult decision to change her mind. Ultimately, she truly desired what was best for him, and I am extremely thankful. She chose to give him the best life she could! For that, she is our hero and we are forever grateful! There is so much loss with adoption but there is also a beautiful message of God’s grace woven into it. This isn’t how I would have written my adoption story, but God’s plan and his timing is always perfect. He had a plan for our son to be in our family before we even considered adoption. If I didn’t develop a relationship with our birth-mom, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable going to the hospital to give her the gift, but God orchestrated every single detail.
After our adoption, a year went by, and God placed it on our hearts to be foster parents. We considered opening our home for years, but we were hesitant to take the next step. Despite our hesitation, we completed our paperwork and finished our classes in obedience to what the Lord called us to. Again, we took the first step. We figured gaining knowledge about the foster care system would be beneficial and we would go from there.
In our state of Kentucky, there are over 10,000 kids in foster care. There are approximately 440,000 children in foster care in the United States with that number increasing every day, and I believe this number will drastically increase after the pandemic. After taking our classes, we believed that being foster parents was our mission. As Christians, we believe we are called to defend the orphan and their families; however, you do not have to be a Christian to provide a loving and safe home for a child. While serving the child is a big part of foster care, so is serving their families; helping to reunify and bring healing to all, Lord willing. This is not always easy but stepping in to help is what we feel called to do.
Having two other kids in our home, we decided to take children ages 0-5 years old. Nine months went by until we received our first kid. He is a beautiful 5-year-old boy and we have enjoyed getting to know him over the past four months. God is still writing our story as foster parents. It’s scary and unknown, it’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. Foster care is not an easy road to travel, but it is rewarding. There are sweet moments in the chaos. Beauty out of ashes.
God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. We hang on to that truth for all 3 of our children. We believe He cares for them and we trust in the goodness of His character. He will not forsake us, and He will always fight for His children.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Allie Powell of Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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