Last week our lives were turned upside down...by a little baby girl. Sissy came to us in a hurry, and we have fallen madly in love.
But I should back up a little.
In July 2011, I started praying for another child. My heart was set on having another baby, and I also knew that I couldn't go through another pregnancy again. I felt such an intense desire to have a baby, but not one bit of me wanted to be pregnant again. I mentioned the idea of adopting while in seminary to Chris, and quite honestly was surprised by his eagerness. I expected a lot of kickback, because really who adopts in seminary?!
Adoption has always been in our plans. but we never knew when we would be able to adopt. We always assumed we would have to wait. But when the Lord moves, you have to move too...
Over the summer I had talked to a friend who went to seminary in the same city as us, and she mentioned an adoption agency who had placed children with seminary families in the past. I felt the Lord's leading and I went with it. We continued to pray about the timing and the expense of adoption, and in October we believed that it was okay to go forward with an application to a local adoption agency. The next month we started our homestudy. Our case worker told us we could finish our homestudy and be placed on the list within 3-6 months. We tried our best to finish all the paperwork, visits with our case worker, etc etc etc but time passed by and we didn't get approved until June 2012. I started to really stress then because we only had one year left of seminary and only one year to be able to stay with this agency before we moved states. Once we move from here, we would have to start all over again with a new agency and a new homestudy. You can see how doubt creeped in, and I started to wonder if we were doing the right thing.
And then the real waiting began. Weeks, then months passed by with no phone calls, no news of any kind. Then in late August, we started to get phone calls about potential matches. That was some of the hardest waiting we've ever experienced within this whole process. With every call we received about a birthmom who was planning to make an adoption plan, my heart grew more and more restless, more ready to hold and love the baby that God had chosen for our family.
From August to December, we were put forward to 6 birthmoms to look at our family book, and subsquently received 6 phone calls telling us that we were not chosen.
The emotional rollercoaster of these phone calls cannot be put into words. Our hearts longed for our child, the one God was calling to our home, our family. I struggled to hope and struggled to believe that we were following the Lord's leading.
Then... less than two weeks ago, we heard of a birthmom who would be making an adoption plan and we dared to hope again. One whole week passed after receiving the news that she would be looking at our family book. No news. I had gotten so used to receiving the 'no' calls, which come rather quickly, that I didn't know what to do with myself in the waiting. Do I hope? Do I hold back?
Exactly one week after hearing about this birthmom, the phone rang. I shakily answered and heard the voice of our caseworker say hello. Hannah was chatting and following me around the living room as I struggled to hear what she was saying on the line. I heard the word 'selected' and completely lost it. I cried and actually made our caseworker repeat herself. We were chosen! This was it!
For our Sissy's sake, I need to restrain myself from going into all the details (and her real name for now, but I can't wait to tell you all about her name and how we choose it). After all, this story is not just ours. It is Sissy's story. It's her birthmom's story. And we don't have the right to tell all of it.
What I can tell you is that from the time we first knew we were chosen to the day we met and brought home our new daughter- only 44 hours had passed.
We are growing more and more in love by the minute with our sweet girl, and more and more thankful for the sacrifice and love of a woman who gave us the greatest gift on Earth. Sissy is a treasure, and we are soaking in these cuddly newborn snuggles. Hannah Mae is in love with her baby sister, and can't kiss her enough. She loves to show off her baby sister and tell everyone that she's the big sister.
I look down at the content, squeaking baby in my arms and sigh. So this is the child we longed for, this is the one who was meant for our family. She's perfect. She's home.
God has been so faithful to us, and I believe with all that I am (even when I'm struggling) that He will be faithful to us, to Sissy, to her birthmom in the future. I have learned so much in the past year and a half... when God calls, or whispers or moves, we must follow. It doesn't have to make sense to us, we need only trust that he knows what he's doing (and when the doubt creeps in and the anxiety rises, the Holy Spirit intercedes and by his Spirit we can keeping moving forward).
By the way, we hope to be officially official with all our paperwork in six months, which also happens to be when we move on to our next adventure of church planting! Praise the Lord! He is so good!