originally featured on Love What Matters
It’s April, 2018. My husband Dylan and I are so surprised to learn that we are both feeling a strong push from the Lord to go ahead and start the adoption process. We think, “Really, Lord? Now?” We always knew adoption would be part of our story, but we thought it would be several years from now. I mean let’s look at the facts: we are in our mid-twenties and have two biological kiddos- Violet who is 3, and Adelaide who hasn’t yet turned 2! We are pretty stable on our current budget, but we don’t exactly have 40-50 thousand dollars (the cost of private adoption) laying around anywhere. This seems crazy. It feels crazy! But we know that our God has called us to this and put this passion in our hearts, and not even logic can stop His plans. So we decide to trust God. If He called us to it, He will see us through it. We announce that baby #3 is on the way, we just don’t know when!
With this announcement comes so much support, but also some natural curiosity- why adoption? Clearly we have been able to grow our family biologically, so what is our motivation to adopt? You may be wondering that yourself! How I wish we could sit down together so I could share my entire heart on this, but I’ll settle for a short summary for now. Basically, Dylan and I have always just had a passion for women who find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy and the babies they carry. We dreamed of the day we could personally step up to be the option for life for a baby, for a future to a woman who did not feel ready to parent. I truly believe that adoption is where ProLife and ProChoice can meet in harmony. She can CHOOSE to give LIFE to her baby, while still living the life she needs to, if she is not ready to become a parent.
Alright so now it’s December, and we have our entire home study and paperwork packet ready to send off, which took us months and months to complete. We are pretty much ready to go active as a “waiting family” except for one problem- we hardly have any funds raised. And this is not due to lack of effort- trust me. We launched an adoption shop, selling shirts and hats and mugs, and that did bring in a few thousand. We threw a pancake breakfast event, where we served truckloads of pancakes and embarrassed ourselves for donations. (Someone bid $50 for us to do the Dirty Dancing lift- which we attempted, and I almost died.)
We raised another six thousand that day, which felt like such a huge success! But when the time comes to submit our paperwork and begin to be presented to expectant mamas, we are nowhere near our goal of $45,000.
The fear begins to really sink in. It keeps Dylan up at night, he runs numbers in his head over and over of how we can possibly make this work on our own. We can’t. It’s impossible. We start to question if this was God’s will for us in the first place- after all, why wasn’t He coming through with the funding?? Has He brought us all the way here just to abandon and bankrupt us? But over and over, He continues to give me two mental pictures. The first is that of the Red Sea splitting to make a way where there was no way for God’s people to escape bondage and get to the promised land. He brings this image to my mind through songs at Church, through references to Exodus in Bible study, even through the artwork my kids make in sunday school! This concept of God clearing the obstacle at just the right time- that is what I’m clinging to.
The second picture is this: I’m looking down at a chunky baby with deep coloring, dark curly hair, and the sweetest little pink lips that make a little kissy face as he stretches. I think, “Lord is this him, our son?” Whether this baby was ours or not, it gives me such peace and reminds me why we started this whole thing. And whenever Dylan and I begin to worry about the money not coming in and I pray that God will provide, He tells our hearts “stop obsessing over the money. I told you I will fight for you. Instead, pray for your son and his mama.”
So with only a small fraction of the funding we will need to bring to the table, we submit our paperwork and become a waiting family.
A few weeks go by, we see several cases and everytime we worry about the price tag attached to each one. Feeling discouraged, we begin to brainstorm back up plans, just in case God doesn’t show up. My heart says to stop this and just TRUST, but my head (and the numbers) tell me this is never going to happen.
A dear friend of mine, not even knowing how the story of Exodus as been on my mind, tells me this:
“I just know God is going to fully fund it. But he didn’t part the Red Sea when the Egyptians were still in Egypt. He parted it when the Israelites had their back against the wall. His timing is so perfect and always glorifies him.”
I finally realize that God is not withholding provision, He is just waiting for the perfect moment to show off. Just like the basketball player who shoots a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game is usually crowned MVP, our God is waiting until we have no choice but to rely on him so HE can receive all the glory!
Four weeks later, it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m attempting to cook my first steak (surprise, I overcooked it) when we get an email from our agency. They tell us a baby boy has been born today in Texas, our home state. They say they don’t know many details, but ask if we would be interested in being presented to the mama. We reply right away with a YES and a letter to this sweet mama, who just gave birth to her first baby and is now about to flip through family profiles to decide who she wants to place him with. I cannot imagine what she must be feeling and already love her, which I tell her in the note. Dylan and I feel giddy for a while but choose not to pack bags or even get the carseat out of the attic, since we don’t want to get our hopes up.
New Year’s Day, 2019. No news. That’s alright, God’s timing and plan is perfect. We don’t have the funding anyway.
Oh but wait, now our agency is calling.. We answer the phone and they tell us the mother picked us!! They say “she can’t wait to meet you, how soon can you be at the hospital?” The next hour is a blur, packing up our toddlers to drop with grandma, throwing clothes into a suitcase, and hitting the road. But in the same moment that our hearts are full of joy over the idea of possibly bringing this boy home, the reality sets in that we now only have three days to come up with $30,000 (the remainder we hadn’t yet raised.)
So here we are, completely desperate for God to move. Like there is no other option Lord, if YOU do not make this happen, it WILL NOT happen! It is in this moment I felt the Lord say to me “Go live on Facebook and talk about it.” It sounds silly, because you don’t really think about the God of the universe caring about Facebook! So once we were on the road, I open up Facebook and hit that “go live” button. I honestly probably seem like a crazy person, rambling on about what a whirlwind morning it as been, and humbly inviting anyone listening to partner in ministry with us as we come alongside a mama wanting to choose life for her baby. That video is shared over and over again, and before we know it, my messages are overflowing with encouragement and prayers and happy thoughts! We are getting constant notifications from our funding page- the number keeps rising and rising!
Then next 24 hours are surreal. We arrive at the hospital and immediately meet T, this baby boy’s warrior mama. We visit with her for a few hours and it is pure holy magic- that is the only way I can describe it, like this wondrous display of the Holy Spirit working and directing every detail into it’s perfect place. Then we are shown our own room of the hospital we can stay in that night, and we get to spend a little time with this baby to let his mama finally rest. It is the hardest thing ever to not name him and claim him as our own, but we know he is still hers, and might be forever if she wakes up in the morning and feels empowered to parent. So we choose to be thankful for the time we do have, loving and praying over him the same way we would for our best friend’s baby.
The next day is so strange, it feels as though time is standing still. T has until 12:30 to make her final decision and she is spending the morning cuddling her sweet boy. But instead of feeling anxious about what could happen, I have the strongest and most tangible peace I have ever felt; I felt so covered in prayer like I never have before. But then again, I have never been in a position to need this much prayer! We spend the morning praying and filling the room with worship music. It is freezing and nasty outside, but I have so much peace as I watch the rain roll down the window and make little ripples in the nearby pond. The song It Is Well by Bethel Music plays and I laugh a little under my breath. “So let go, my soul, and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.” This lyric is repeated a few times and resonates so deeply. The waves, the sea, He is going to make a way for us.
There is so much more to this story about our final moments with baby’s birth parents. In order to honor this time, I don’t want to squeeze these details into a short summary. So instead I’ll say this: T and C (birth mom and dad) are the bravest and most selfless people I have ever met. They break their own hearts out of their deep deep love for their son when they place him with us that afternoon. The great privilege and honor that this is is not lost on us.
As we travel home that night with our new son, I hop online once again to share an update with everyone who had been praying for us and following along with our story. Within a week, our friends, family, church community, and strangers we have never met have given over $40,000, fully funding our adoption.
Looking back, I am so incredibly thankful that God allowed us to become desperate for Him to make a way, to split the sea in front of us. Had a generous donor written us just one big fat check in the beginning, we would have never had the opportunity to trust the Lord in a way we never had to before, and we wouldn’t have had the need to call out to our community! Seeing all of our people and even complete strangers step up to help us and partner in ministry is beyond humbling- I do not even have the words to express our deep gratitude. It is so beautiful to witness humanity rallying together for the life of ONE baby and his mama who made the hardest and bravest decision of her life. That support feels like everyone is saying “His one life does matter! Her future does matter!” I will never ever forget that as long as I live.
Turns out, my season of waiting is exactly what I needed to be prepared for what I had asked for, and ultimately it glorifies the Lord the most! I pray that you would have peace and hope in whatever season you are in, too. Trust God, He is still splitting seas.