Our Adoption Story

It seems my whole life has been about waiting on God.  Why was I surprised that our journey toward parenthood would be any different? 

A Little Background
I didn't meet my husband until I was 35.  We married when I was 37.  We knew we wanted children and we knew we didn't have any time to waste.  About a year into our marriage we conceived a child.  Almost six weeks later, I miscarried.  Even though we were devastated, we were hopeful that we could conceive again.  We never did....and we didn't feel like we had the luxury of waiting 'to see what happens.'  We didn't feel called to pursue any fertility assistance, so adoption was the option we chose.

Embarking on the Journey of Adoption
Adoption was always something to which my husband and I were open. We even talked about the possibility when we were dating.  Even though letting go of our oringal 'plan' to conceive and carry our children was very difficult, it was a fairly easy decision to choose adoption. We were excited to begin our journey and were a little bit nervous about the path lied ahead. The world of adoption is vast, complicated and unpredictable.  Just figuring out what avenues to take was quite a challenge.  Very little is clear-cut and it is ALL so very personal leaving you so very vulnerable. 

We ultimately decided to take the path of domestic adoption mostly because we desired for our first child to be a newborn. The agency we chose was a crisis pregancy (pro-life non-profit) center.  There were many adoptions happening at that time and we were very encouraged.

We navigated our way through all the paperwork, interviews, background checks, counseling, autobiographies, parenting philosophies, family profile and all the other stuff that homestudy requires.  We were approved and on October 1, 2007 we turned in our adoption profile - the last step of the process before we were 'paper pregnant.'

A Change of Plans

Just as soon as we were done and ready with the arduous process -- there was a drought in terms of birthmothers placing their babies for adoption.  We patiently waited, checking in occasionally. In February of 2008, we got a call from one of the case workers letting us know that there was an unusual circumstance they wanted us to consider.  My first thought was twins....but I was wrong.  It was a four year old girl and her two year old brother whose birthmother surrendered her rights.  Birthfather was constantly into trouble and hadn't made it easy for the mother.  

We were distrought. The whole reason why we went with this agency was because we really wanted an infant.  We thought about it and prayed about it and, with heavy hearts, said no.

We felt good about our decsion until three days later when we got another call.   They had placed these two children in two different homes and both couples returned the children within 24 hours.  I was so saddened to hear that - and was shocked to hear her begging us to reconsider.  She told us how beautiful and special these kids were and that my husband and I would be just what they needed.  She fell apart and started crying.

I had to call my husband, who was in Canada for business for a week, and tell him about this new turn of events.  I wondered if God was trying to open our hearts to changing our plans.  After much discernment and many tears, we decided to say yes and accept these children into our home and hearts.

The situation was extremely complicated because the birthfather had not signed his rights over and HIS family was furious and wanted to fight for the kids. (It seems they hadn't done much before to help with them before.)  And wouldn't you know. The birthfather's stepfather was a local judge.  You can imagine how sticky it all got.

The short version of the story is that six weeks into this new chapter in our lives, a very complicated, corrupt court case ensued - and without wanted to add any more drama to these little lives, we reluctantlly returned the kids to the father's parents (who then returned the children to their father.)  We were disillusioned, disgusted and in complete dispair, but felt that we didn't want to put the children through any more than they'd been through.


The heartbreak we felt was immeasurable.  Entering this adoption journey, my biggest fear was that a birthmother would change her mind at the last minute.  This was exponentially worse.  We had two absolutely precious children in our home for six weeks, even calling us Mommy and Daddy, and then we had to let them go back to an unstable environment - without any say-so or control.

We turned the children's room back into a nursery immediately.  There were reminders everywhere of the kids and the fact that we were no longer parents.  We now had a swing set, a trampoline, an above-ground pool and (get this) a BRAND NEW MINI VAN!  No kids....just a mini van.

We knew we needed to get away.  We needed something to look forward to, something to distract us and something to help us to heal.  So we took a vacation of a lifetime to resort in Cancun and we renewed, refrshed and recharged.  It was such a blessing to have that opportunity and precious memory.

A Big Surprise

Not long after we returned from our fabulous 'bandaid vacation,' we received an unexpected call. 
“What are you doing?” the loving voice said on the other end of the phone. 
I explained to our adoption sweet case worker that we had just pulled up to my parents home for supper. 
“Can you change your plans?” she said.
Hesitantly I asked why she wanted to  know. 
“Well, because we are here at the hospital with a newborn baby waiting for her parents to pick her up.”
You can imagine our amazement and our concern.  The birthmother had already signed and our attorney was on his way to the birthfather's hosue to get his signature.   We were in awe and disbelief.  An hour later when the paperwork was complete we got the confirmation.  In our state the birthmother can’t sign over her rights until the baby is five days old.  Knowing the roller coaster we had been on they asked us if we wanted the baby in a transitional home until the birthmother could sign.  My husband looked at me and shook his head.  His response:  “Let’s go get our daughter.”

On the way to the hospital, still in shock about this miracle….I made a realization – causing me to gasp and my husband to panic and slam on the breaks.   “Her birthday is July 1st!" I excitedly told my husband.  After his heart started beating again and he asked me not to do that to him while driving, he asked if that date had any significance to us.  "Not before today." I told him. "But I just did the math.  Remember when we turned in our adoption profile to the agency?  I remember it was October 1st - the feast of St. Therese.  It was the day we emailed everyone to let them know we had completed the adoption process and that we considered ourselves officially expecting."  My husband looked at me waiting for this to make any sense.  "Iain, the day we said we were officially expecting was exactly NINE MONTHS TO THE DAY that this baby was born. It was also the day we began praying for the birthmothers of our children." 
It may not have been the day this baby was conceived, but I'm certain it was the day this baby was conceived in our hearts.  I knew then, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this baby was meant for us. 
We met her for the first time and fell instantly in love. 

I was even wheeled out with her in a wheelchair just like all the other card-carrying mothers who gave birth to their babies.

We got "the call" at 6pm that evening, and were home with our Gianna Elyse by 10:30pm.
God’s fingerprints were all over this adoption journey.   This baby was meant for us!  He's been proving that for the last two and a half years -- and I'm sure for the rest of our lives.
* * * * * * * * * *
We are now with a different agency hoping to make our daughter a big sister.  I don't have any idea what the future holds for us....but I can that I know miracles do happen and I am certain that God's plan is ALWAYS better than ours. :)
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