This is My Story....
It is a short testimony that I shared with a few hundred beautiful mommas at Created For Care about a week ago. As an adoption consultant I want you to know more about me and our family. Why am we so passionate about what we do?
My story starts with an 8 year old child on vacation. Who all of a sudden feels pain and has to be swept off to the nearest hospital. With concern and obvious fear on her parents faces we are told the words that no one wants to hear- ever. Your daughter has cancer. Stunned and taken back we head back to our home state for immediate surgery that took 7 doctors 14 hours. There were no answers or real hope as this kind of cancer usually only strikes women over 40.
For months afterward our family is torn apart with brothers at home with grandparents rotating in our lives, my dad on the road truck driving, and my mom and I waiting….. waiting for the next appointment, for the next treatment, for the doctors, for my counts to be high enough for my next treatment again, for hope of the words everyone wants to hear- YOU ARE HEALED! For more than a year we battled with sickness, healing, low counts, and much more. Finally 10 years later at my 18th birthday I was declared HEALED!!
Because of having a total hysterectomy there was a lot more to my story…. What happens when my prince comes? Will he love me even though we will never have biological children? Will he join me on the path to adoption whatever that looks like? While working at a Christian Summer camp for the bazillionth year in a row after I had already started my career as a music teacher- my prince came and he definitely was meant for me, along for my journey that became our journey! Thank you Jesus!
Next waiting the 4 years, that back then you had to wait, in order to start the adoption process….. then for some crazy reason through friends started the classes to do foster care. Through that same friend we had a connection to a possible placement of a 14 month old girl. Over the next several months she would stay with us. After passing the grueling preadoption interview along with other families we were chosen.
Next came her 2 brothers who also joined our family eventually in the coming 2 years and we had a great family right- 3 children 1 girl 2 boys Abigail, Andrew, and Matthew….and we were done right? Then a move to minister at another Christian Camp in Louisiana …and signing on to do foster care all over again. This time not really to adopt a child necessarily, but just to help out some families. Well, 3 years after we took in a placement of a sibling group of 2 - ages 3 and 1 and then added a baby sister- we finalized Joshua, Sarah, and Elizabeth’s adoption.
Knowing that we were maxing out our numbers for foster care and that something had to be “easier” we decided to do international adoption joining the AGCI Ethiopia program. I mean if you have 6 kiddos might as well have more, and by this time we loved our chaos. So we rushed through paperwork to bring home our miracle child who was born with scoliosis and spina bifida- Hannah Grace.
In a trial of grief that no one should ever have to go through we had to let our Hannah go as she went home to be with Jesus. There is nothing that prepares you for that loss….. we took some time and prayed and thought God has a child for us still and we brought home our toddler Jonathan. Months later we signed on with AGCI to do another Ethiopian adoption- matched with a special needs toddler girl. This time being told by USCIS that our ministry income wasn’t enough to bring her home (long story, but we had free housing and utilities, but arguing with government isn’t easy). We were devastated for another loss of our Naomi- God….. please…. We don’t understand – another loss!!!
That is when we found out about domestic adoption- would anyone really want a family with 7 children? Within a week we were holding our daughter in our arms and she was legally ours! A whirlwind of grace and healing of our wounded hearts!
After a couple of years, a move, and a few job changes we brought our Michael home through a special needs program at age 2. A beautiful match with our family- he amazes us every day what he can do despite the millions of odds against him in his short life. Being HIV positive which in his case had become devastating to his body with high counts it caused so much brain damage and CP.
Our lives are hard. Parenting is hard. Most of you know parenting an adopted or foster child is harder! It isn’t flowers and unicorns, but it is beautiful as well. Beautifully broken together. God’s mercies are new every morning……