Sunday, January 24, 2016

Our Journey to Adoption

  Ten years ago, I was a first grade teacher in downtown Houston. I was at a bilingual campus, and the first grade Spanish speakers made it their job to teach me Spanish. It was my first deep exposure to the Hispanic and Latino culture, and I loved it.
   Nine years ago, I began teaching second grade at a title one school in Humble. My students came from various backgrounds and levels of stability, and I loved most of them as my own. Clark began to talk about starting a family, and all I could think about was taking care of the children God had already placed in my life. I told the Lord and Clark that I didn't want to have biological children; I just wanted to adopt. 
   Eight years ago, I looped up with most of my class to third grade. My heart was hooked on these kids. I spent eight hours a day with them, yes, doing my job as an educator, but I felt I was fulfilling my call to ministry by loving their tiny souls. Adoption was so heavy on my heart. Clark was not there yet. We prayed for guidance and direction regarding my job and plans for our family, and through various trials that year, the Lord showed me it was time to "retire" from teaching and be a mommy. 
    Seven years and 1 month ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl on planet Earth. I also began one of the most difficult journeys of my life as I walked through post-partum depression. I was shaped and refined through a struggle I never expected and never wanted to revisit. Clark and I in high school had joked we would have seven children someday. After Emma, four sounded like a stretch. Clark's heart began to stir toward the possibility of adoption.
    Four years and nine months ago, Handsome Ransom was born, red hair and all! Man, he was a chunk of wonderfulness wrapped in rolls and dimples. And, in spite of my hopes to escape hormonal hell unscathed, I knew I was in the pit again. Clark and I had prayed and decided that if I did indeed struggle with post-partum depression, we would take that as an indicator that our family would not need to be extended biologically and adoption might be for us. 
   Three years ago, I went to MOPs convention and was inundated with adoption... orphans...fostering...loving those who have no family... I prayed that if the Lord wanted us to adopt, that when we got home from convention Clark would be the one to bring up the topic. I waited. Months passed. Nothing. And then one day, he asked where the most need was. And then another day he asked what agency I thought we should work with. And then in December of that year, he said, "We need to get on this. We need to remove any and all barriers that would prevent us from being available to receive a child if that's what the Lord calls us to." 
   Almost two years ago, we moved. And things were put on hold. 
   And then one year ago, God said, "No, really, get on it." And then two months ago, the Lord lit a fire under us as we looked at a 50% chance of us having a baby in two weeks. Our certification was expedited, all our home studies completed, paperwork that shouldn't have been possible fell into place, and we were suddenly waiting to receive an infant. Clark was ready and excited, and he was helping me to get excited. But then the birthmom didn't choose us. 
    Three weeks ago, I received a call from our social worker. She asked how we were doing and if we were still ready for a baby. I laughed and said, "The bed is waiting! We just need a birthmom!" Then she said, "I'm working with a birthmom, and she chose you." 
    We met our birthmom last Saturday. I would like to adopt her, too, if I could! She is lovely, precious, and sweet, and she has made the brave and selfless choice to give her baby life and a kind of security and stability she feels she could not give. We get to meet with her again this Saturday just to get to know one another a little better. 
    Sometime around February 13th, my son will be born. It is surreal and exciting and heartbreaking all in the same instant. We are learning how to do a dance of mourning the mother's loss and celebrating his precious life. 

    The journey has been long in years and great in preparation. Clark and I are thankful for your encouragement and prayers as we look forward to welcoming our son next month!