If someone would have told us (my wife and I) fifteen years ago that we would be hold our fifth child this first week of October 2023, I would have had hard tome believing it. I would, in fact, most likely have laughed to myself. Maybe under my breath like Sarah over hearing God promise Abraham that within a year they would have the son of promise.
Flashing back to 2008, Audrey and I were certain we would not be blessed with children. After an extended period of using medical treatments for infertility with no results other that the disclosed side effects, we decided it was time to end the cycles of medical treatments, discomfort, anxiety, hope and disappointment.
Sorrow filled our hearts as we were slowly and hesitantly coming to grips with the reality of never having a child. Our focus was only on the despair of our immediate situation and not on the power of our Creator. We didn’t know what our future would hold, we could only see the current moment we were living and had recently lived through. We couldn’t see over the horizon and forgot to look up.
If, as you read this, are going through it or something like it, we know how hard this is. Seeing all of your peers having children, enjoying so many of life’s early milestones and while we were sincerely happy for them, inside our empty house this was so very difficult. We sat watching everyone else moving on with their lives while we just seemed to be stuck, hanging motionless in a painful point in time, wondering if and when we would ever take a step and start our advance forward in life.
It did in fact see miraculous when in October of 2009 prayers were answered and we were blessed to welcome, Chloe, our wonderful daughter to our family. The early years of disappointment only magnified the gratitude and joy that she brought into our lives. This only grows with every passing day.
Lifted in hope by a successful pregnancy, we decided after about a year to add a second child to our family. This time though we decided against the pain and cost of fertility treatments. We decided to hope in prayer, providence and “whatever worked” with Chloe.
Days turned to months, months into years and years again into sadness and tears. The tears and prayers grew fainter over time as the hopes of having a larger family began to fade away.
Fast forward to 2016 and a new glimmer of hope peaked into view. Adoption
We already had several children, both on my side of the family and Audrey’s, who were adopted. For the life of us, we don’t know why this option had never entered our mind to consider. We immediately started talking about this, seriously, we did research on adoption the more we learned and considered the more we prayed and quickly started to realize that this might be the path God was leading us down.
Our investigations and research continued and we discovered many sobering realities like, the average wait time for an adoption placement is 2-7 years and of course the costs were overwhelming, $40,000 to $60,000. Patience we had grown accustomed to but the cost… WOW! Where in the world would be get that kind of money?
We began our own austerity program, we looked at all the stuff we owned. If we didn’t “need it” we sold it. After a few months we reviewed our tighter budget, what we were saving and how much we made by selling the things we could do without. It was funny too, how the value of our stuff changed when we compared it to the value of the child we hoped to love someday soon.
Despite our frugality and letting go of things in exchange for a child, we were short, way short and the gap would take years to close.
But then… a new hope appeared from a family member who told us about an organization, she had vaguely heard about. To our ears accustomed to the deafening roar of despair, it sounded far away and to good to be true. An organization whose mission is to remove the – our financial barrier to adoption and because, according to the results on their website have established a very effective network of contacts with agencies around the country, waiting – placement times are a fraction of what we had been reading.
A quick Google search told us the organization was Sacred Selections. It looked real, a bit more believable, maybe it was good and true. A “legit” hope for our desperate situation. I called the number given on the “CONTACT US” page on the website.
When “Sacred Selections” answered the phone, I was greeted by the sweetest person with the kindest loving voice ever and she immediately had me engaged in the conversation about our hopes for adoption. This “voice” gave me a feeling of peace and confidence, this was real, and there is a real reason to hope. We soon found out that this loving voice of kindness belonged to Dana. The sweetest, most selfless person Audrey and I have ever met.
Dana had by the end of the call, invited us to an adoption fundraiser that was going to be held in Bowling Green, Kentucky the following week. “Technically”, she said, “It is sold out, but don’t worry. When you get there tell them I invited you.”
When we arrived the following week at the fundraiser we were totally blown away. A room full mostly of Christians who had gathered for one reason, to raise money to help children be placed in Christian homes. Talk about uplifting. We laughed and cried, but most importantly we were overcome and overjoyed with hope, true hope. The burdensome cost of adoption was suddenly lifted from our minds by an organization we had just learned of, from people we’d never met and a powerful shared commitment of Christians who take God’s description of “pure religion” seriously, “caring for the fatherless.” These were all things that had consumed our minds and taken our energy for a long period of time.
As I write and reflect on this, we have gone through the adoption process with Sacred Selections four times. Audrey and I believe now, this was a providential reason we couldn’t conceive any other children biologically. God knew who our children would be, that they would need a home and where and when they would be ready. All of our worry was in vain.
Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It is definitely the most trying thing that we have been through thus far in our life, but it’s also the most rewarding! It was as if we were on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, twists and turns, starts and stops, blind corners and staring up at blue skies. At many times we had no idea if where the stopping point was or if we’d ever get off.
One of the hardest moments in my life came after our first disruption. I was in shock myself while seeing Audrey laying on the floor sobbing like I’ve never seen her before and there was nothing I could do or say to make it better. It was agonizing for both of us. At this moment we almost gave up. In fact, I don’t remember exactly why we didn’t. The ride had drained us. We felt as if we had nothing left mentally or emotionally to offer. I felt like a spent shell, a piece of brass falling and spinning on the ground in a swirl of smoke.
We took this personal, and it hurt badly. We wallowed in self-pity. In spite of the lessons we should have learned, we took our eyes off our Creator, His power and His people. I am so glad that Dana allows God to work in her and through her for good. Seeing Him in her was our source of encouragement and hope during this trying time. Her godly example of peace during our time of tribulation was so uplifting to us. It strengthened us in so many ways. She has taught me so much about humility. She will never take one ounce of credit for things that God accomplished through her. She always says, “It’s not me, it’s ALL GOD.”
With prayer, providence, some newly found strength, encouraging words from Dana, we pulled out of the valley and the rollercoaster started up the next hill. We found ourselves looking at blue skies again when we matched a few months later. This adoption was different, instead of a newborn it was an eighteen-month-old little boy. The wounds of the previous disruption still stung, there were lingering anxieties and pain, but we moved cautiously, hopefully ahead. A few weeks passed and we thought everything was going great and then we got another dreaded call. The birthmother backed out. We were saddened, but not emotionally crushed like the first time. It occurred to us, we were stronger, our faith had endured this before, hope had not died. We were coming to the realization that only God can see over the horizon, into the future and knows the infinite details of humanity. In His time became a mantra for the two of us. For reasons unknown to us this child is not the one God had planned to be a part of our family.
Two weeks later, just two weeks later, we were matched again. The baby was due in February and this situation looked really good. In just three weeks after the match, if I remember correctly, we were holding our first son. It was one of the most joyous times in our life.
Audrey and I and now a family of seven have been through the adoption process four times and we have five beautiful children. Our house is full and our home is filled with joy along with everything else five kids contribute to daily life. All of our worry was in vain, and we have learned to realize what is and to trust in “true hope.”
Husband, father, brother and encourager.