‘When will we get our baby brother?’ We needed $4,000 and had no idea how to come up with that money.’: Couple embark on adoption ‘roller coaster,’ community unites to raise money

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“Before Tim and I ever met, the Lord placed a deep burden in our hearts for the ministry of adoption. It didn’t take long when we began courting in January of 2011 to get around to the question of children, and more specifically, adoption. One of the ways we were confident God was leading us towards marrying one another was because of this common bond. Adoption has been on both of our radars for a long time.

Courtesy of Maelee Mathis

We have watched and supported friends go through the adoption process and have been waiting for the right time to embark on this journey ourselves. In our entire marriage, our thinking has been ‘when’ we will adopt, not ‘if’ we will adopt. When our biological children were three and one-and-a-half, we began to think about adding another child to our family. We didn’t have trouble conceiving our biological children, but there were complications with both of my pregnancies. I have a pre-existing heart condition that heightens my blood pressure and with our pregnancies this was a big issue. So, when we decided to add to our family again, we knew it was the right time for adoption because of those previous problems.

It was December of 2017 when we announced we were adopting.

Courtesy of Maelee Mathis

We started fundraising for our adoption right away and have completed multiple fundraisers since then. We have sold t-shirts several times, Tim ran ‘The Dopey Challenge’ (which is 48.6 miles at Disney World), and we had family and friends pledge money per mile he completed. We’ve also sold slabs of ribs, hosted an online business workshop for Young Living Essential Oils, and more. We are so grateful for every penny given to our adoption. Every cent counts so much for us as it brings us closer to bringing our baby home. But we never thought fundraising could and would be so.

I guess just having an outside perspective of adoption, we thought families had an easy time coming up with the money needed to adopt. And maybe it is the case for some, but it definitely has not been the case for us. Even though we were having difficulty fundraising, we felt we should step out on faith because we KNOW we have been called to adoption. One of the toughest decisions to make was whether or not to go ‘active’ even though we weren’t close to having the money needed (and still don’t). We decided we would act on faith and start anyway. Trusting God would be able to provide the means through any way He saw fit if we were matched.

Even though fundraising has been the most difficult part of this process, there was one particular moment that was the greatest source of joy! When our application to our consultant firm was accepted, we were told we had three business days to come up with the fee. We were $2,000 away and had no idea how we would come up with that amount of money in such a short amount of time. We started telling those around us through social media the situation we were in and within 24 hours we had come up with the money we needed!

Courtesy of Maelee Mathis

Message after message, text after text, phone call after phone call, each were blowing us away with family, friends, old high school classmates, and strangers were telling us they were giving us money for our adoption. We were tearing up with each pledge as the money kept rolling in. We were utterly blown away with how generous everyone was being towards us and for a child they haven’t met nor is even born yet! Grateful is an understatement of how we felt when we went to bed that night. That day was a huge step for us in the area of trusting God and people.

Our desire is to be as open as possible about our adoption and never to make it some thing to be ashamed of or taboo to talk about. We told our children about our plan to adopt as soon as we decided to pursue it. They were excited to be adding a baby to the family. They have encouraged us along the way with the love they already have for their little brother. They ask all the time when we will be getting him and they talk about all the stuff they want to do with him. We’d continuously say things like, ‘We have to fill this paperwork out to get our baby,’ or ‘we’re doing this fundraiser to help get money to bring our baby home.’

We did a yard sale fundraiser and our kids set up a lemonade stand to raise their own money to help with the adoption. They have been able to share our joy of the process with us, and they have also felt the weight of the wait with us. We plan for our adopted baby to know he is adopted from day one and not make it something awkward or weird to talk about. We want to celebrate the fact God brings families together in many different ways and adoption is one of those.

Courtesy of Maelee Mathis

We were matched with a 9-month-old baby boy officially on May 20th. As soon as we matched, our fundraising took off! We received donations, loans, and grants to get us almost to our goal. We are currently only $4,000 away from our full amount needed! We are trusting when we are placed with our boy, the remainder of the money will come in.

We were over-the-moon excited and still are, but there have been some major hang ups along the way getting him into our arms. The process of our adoption has been more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually taxing as a whole than anything we could have ever prepared for. We feel this side of the adoption process isn’t talked about or exposed enough. Views from the outside or what others share in their highlight reel of adoption make adoption look like a breeze, but there are big, hard emotions and situations hopeful adoptive families go through.

Tim and I have supported each other, held each other as we have cried many tears, and encouraged each other as we have shared our frustrations along the way. When we were matched with Baby Boy in mid-May, we thought we would work through the legal process and have him home by mid-June. But here we are, mid-August, and he still isn’t home. Adoption is a roller coaster. There are ups, downs, twists, and turns and sometimes things are turned upside-down unexpectedly. We are in the middle of the unexpected upside-down turn, holding our breath waiting to be turned right side up. Each passing week of waiting for the legal side to be worked out is harder, but we have faith that God is sovereign and has known this is how our adoption journey would be from the beginning.

Baby Boy is now 1-year-old and we are still waiting. We have his room all set up for him. We have clothes, toys, and a family waiting for him. And you know, I thought the waiting during the ‘active’ phase of our adoption was the hardest thing ever but I was very wrong. I have two pictures of this Baby Boy and a heart that is aching for him to be with us. I want to teach him words, love on him, watch him run around the house and yard with his brother and sister, and so much more.

Courtesy of Maelee Mathis

Waiting and growing in patience along with testing our faith in God seem to be the themes of our adoption journey. It has not been easy. It has been hard for others to understand what we’re going through and how hard it has been for us, but we hope He will supply all of our needs just in time.

There is a quote by Casper ten Boom from his daughter Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, that we love and believe God has used greatly in our life:

‘Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. ‘Corrie,’ he began gently, ‘when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?’ I sniffed a few times, considering this. ‘Why, just before we get on the train.’

‘Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.'”

Courtesy of Ashley Wilkes Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Maelee Mathis. Follow Maelee on Instagram here or her website here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

Read more hopeful stories of adoption here:

‘My girl looked at us, tears in her eyes. ‘I don’t get a baby brudder?’ My heart shattered.’ Mom details ‘adoption roller coaster’ in the wake of father’s tragic death’

‘We would move mountains to adopt her’: Woman travels to Mexico, falls in love with orphan she’s desperate to bring home’

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