"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

Monday, November 26, 2012

An adoption story

Today is our daughter Katie's golden birthday...26 years old on November 26! Happy birthday, Katie Marie!

God, in His wisdom, chose our family to be blessed through adoption. Shortly after our oldest daughter, Stephanie, was born, Steve and I found out we would not be able to have any more children. We were incredibly saddened by that thought, and discovered the pain, loss, and grief that secondary infertility (infertility after already having a child) brings. The death of any dream leaves an aching void. But as God so often does, He provided another way for our dreams to be fulfilled...His way. For us, this was through adoption.

We began the adoption process shortly after Stephanie turned two. During this time I read the advice to begin praying for the child who would become our own…and to pray for that child’s birthmother. So that’s what I did. I would often pray for “our child’s birthmother”—especially for that heart-wrenching decision she would eventually be faced with. At that time we had no idea when we would receive a child. Adoptive parents weren’t told in advance that a birthmother was contemplating placing her child with them. I had no name or face or idea about who I was praying for. But the woman who was nameless to me, was known intimately by God.

On December 23, 1986 (at 4:00 in the afternoon!), we received a phone call from the social worker at Bethany Christian Services that our baby daughter was available for adoption and could we come to the office at 9:00 the next morning? YES! Oh, the phone calls that went out that night! We called family and friends and joyfully told them the wonderful news. We were getting a BABY GIRL for Christmas! We scrambled to get some baby clothes together, stocked up on diapers, purchased formula, and who knows what else. It’s all kind of a blur. We didn’t get much sleep that night!

Finally, after 17 hours of “labor” (from the phone call at 4:00 the previous afternoon), Steve, Stephanie, and I went to the Bethany offices and soon brought home our baby girl. Right from the start Katie was bright-eyed and full of spunk. A joyous addition to our family…and an incredible start to the Christmas holiday! How fun to walk into church on Christmas morning with our TWO little girls. I even had a sweet older lady comment to me that she didn’t realize we were expecting. Joy, hope, peace, love. Dreams fulfilled. The message of Christmas.

Yet I was always aware of another mom who was intensely grieving that Christmas. A mom who left behind a precious infant daughter—and a very large part of her heart. My prayers continued for this other mom, whose daughter now became mine. It’s still hard for me to put into words our gratitude for her unselfish act of love. I believe that the only One who can truly comprehend the magnitude of releasing a child for adoption is our Heavenly Father. He gave His son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice. So as I prayed for Michelle (Katie’s birthmom), I knew that God fully understood her heart. 

Fast-forward 26 years…and as is typical in most families, we’ve had our ups and downs. But we went through these years knowing and trusting the One who was holding our family together. I’ve always found deep assurance in knowing that God put our family together. From the beginning of time He purposed that Katie (and later Kyle) would join our family by adoption, just as He purposed for Steph to be born to us. He chose two brave, strong women to do what most would find an impossible act of love and trust.

A passage in Scripture that became especially meaningful to me during our children’s growing-up years is Acts 17:26. “From one man He (God) made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” 

There’s no happenstance, coincidence, or “luck of the draw” in God’s kingdom. We are placed on this earth at this time and in this exact place because God has determined it. What a joy to know He took such great care in putting our family together!

Katie’s world enlarged greatly a few years ago when she was able to get acquainted with her birth family. In addition to her birthmother, she discovered another sister, brother, set of grandparents, and a host of uncles, aunts, and cousins! How fun for all of us to be able to meet them and get to know them. God is so big, so wise, so amazing.

So Katie, happy birthday dear daughter! And Michelle, my daughter’s first mother, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


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