November is a month where we all reflect on thankfulness and give thanks to the Lord for our many gifts. When Jaime asked us to share our story, it was easy to say yes because God has written such a beautiful story over our lives, rising beauty from ashes, and daily demonstrating His promise to us, spoken through the scripture, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Indeed, our story is a story of loss, redemption, longing, and beauty. Throughout our journey to our children, God has shown us time and time again that He writes the best stories!
Our story began as many others—we were high school sweethearts with a shared love of the Lord and excitement to begin our life together. We were engaged at 20, married at 22 and were eager to start a family. Many people dream of their careers at an early age, dreaming about being a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut or sports player. My dream, from a very young age, was simple—I wanted to be a mommy. I believe God placed that dream in my heart with such a ferocity because He knew the courage that it would take me to get there.
Early on in our marriage, we were excited to grow our family and have children. After months and months of trying to get pregnant, we will never forget sitting across from the doctor and receiving the news that we will never get pregnant naturally. No one can quite prepare you for receiving news like this. To say we were devastated would be an understatement. All of our youthful love and innocence suddenly seemed to slip away in a fleeting moment. Life suddenly felt very “real.”
After praying and seeking the Lord’s guidance, we felt led to undergo fertility treatments.
After a year, multiple IVF treatments, and a devastating miscarriage, we were nowhere closer to our baby than when we started. We were weary, searching, and desperate to become parents. “Why,” we wondered, “why did God place this great hole in our heart for children that was SO difficult to fill?! Why?” Like many of God’s best stories, His purpose and plan unfolded slowly, but beautifully.
During that time, the whisper in our hearts that began when we were dating as teenagers strengthened into clear direction- that we were to adopt. After prayerful consideration, we felt like God was calling us to adopt from Ethiopia, a country with a beautiful culture and history. We signed on with our agency to adopt our baby from Ethiopia in the summer of 2010. We were ready. Our agency told us that the expected wait times were 8–9 months. “Perfect,” we thought. “Just like a pregnancy. We can do this.” Well, friends, those projected 8–9 months turned into a FOUR year wait. That’s right- it was 4 years (almost to the day) from when we contracted with our agency to when we landed on American soil with our baby girl.
How can two words on a page adequately represent how God makes beauty from ashes; how the Lord uses hardships to foster a sense of purpose and gratitude in your life? For us those four years that we waited for our baby girl were years of refining and in the hardest moments of the wait, we were able to see the face of the Lord. It is only through the love and power of Jesus that we were able to venture, to endure, to find what it means for the JOY of the Lord to be your strength.
It was during those four years we received the calling of our marriage,our life. God took our loss, our desire to be parents, our pain and turned it all for His good. God made it abundantly clear to us that our calling is to grow our family through adoption and foster care. I will never forget the glorious nightwhen our phone FINALLY rang with the referral of our daughter…on my 30thbirthday. After over 3 years waiting, God revealed our daughter’s beautiful face to us on my birthday, a tiny detail in our story that will forever show me how deep the Father’s love is for me! On that day, our joy faced a juxtaposition with the sorrow of learning our daughter’s story. At just one month old, she had lost everything in her little life….everything. Staring at her picture and looking into her deep brown eyes, I wondered how I could feel such JOY and such SORROW all at once. The promise of Christ, “Behold, I am making all things new,” rang in my ears.
Many people, when they see that we are an adoptive and foster care family, applaud us and talk about how wonderful we are because our children “needed us so badly.” Although I understand and appreciate the sentiment behind this remark, it always makes me feel uncomfortable because of our children’s loss and because I don’t think people realize how much WE needed our babies. How Jesus took my broken heart and desire to be a mommy and paired it with my baby’s broken hearts and need for a second mommy, will always be a holy pairing. We are humbled knowing that we were not God’s plan A for our babies- but by the grace of God- He has made for a beautiful plan B. He has raised beauty from ashes and by His power made all things new.
Since returning home from Ethiopia, God has continued to work in our family and directed our steps into the world of foster care.
This past February, we got the call to love and care for the most precious one month old baby girl. What an honor and privilege it is to be called to love our babies. Looking back on our journey, we are so thankful for all of the hard moments, all of the heartache, the waiting, and the unseen trials. It is in the hardships that God makes His face known. When we step back and let Him take the lead, we find that God truly writes the best stories; and we are so thankful for the story He has written for our lives. Our prayer is that our family can glorify Him always. As we look at our two girls’ precious faces, we are overwhelmed with what a privilege it is to love their little hearts. We thank God for our journey because it led us to them, our precious baby girls. Joy truly does come in the morning. To God be the glory!
This story has been submitted to us anonymously due to privacy regulations through the foster care system. We are so thankful for this sweet family, their hearts for others, and their testimony.