But... now, we have a new journey to share, and keeping it within our own family just isn't enough for such a big, exciting, scary, amazing story that God's writing.
So here goes:
We are, Lord willing, going to adopt a baby.
Bear with me through this; it's hard to write confidently about such an uncontrolled thing. Well, it's controlled, I guess, just not by us. I have a lump in my throat even as I type these words -- stating that we're adopting seems like such a big claim. What if we never get "picked?" Yet, God has without a doubt called us to take these steps. There's no other way you can frame it. God led us to this. And we really trust, we believe, that He has a baby for us through adoption.
Eugene and I were faced with a very likely possibility of infertility issues early on in our marriage when I was diagnosed with endometriosis, had a surgical procedure for it, tried to conceive for a while unsuccessfully, conceived but resulted in a miscarriage, then had another bout of waiting until finally we were blessed with sweet "big sister." The point of sharing all that pretty private info is that through that entire time of wondering daily - sometimes, hourly - whether or not I could carry a sweet healthy baby in me, Eugene and I had an honest conversation about adoption. It was a simple one. (Those of you who know Eugene aren't shocked...man of few words when it comes to serious topics!) I asked him if he felt like we should consider adoption, especially given our struggles and odds of having a child biologically. He said he didn't really feel like that's what we should do. He asked me the same questions, and my answer was the same. We didn't have anything against adoption, but for some reason (aka God), neither of us felt like pursuing adoption was the right thing at that time for us.
We pressed on through what was probably the toughest time for me personally and for our marriage, and God knocked our socks off with His plan in His time: our sweet little girl was born. Two years, two months later, enter "little brother." This kid is silly, and sensitive, and so ridiculously sweet. And God again knows just what He's doing. Parenthood has refined us in ways we never knew we needed refining. I've watched Eugene grow into a complete leader of our family, a fun, solid, intentional father to our children, a sacrificing, hardworking husband for me. I've since willingly killed my career in Events, trading angry mothers-of-the-brides for giggling toddlers. Staying at home with them has been the hardest job I've ever done - dare I say, ever will do. Hard, not because my kids are tough, but because it highlights every ounce of selfishness, pride, and identity issues in me. I've grown so much. And my kids are awesome. Best job ever, seriously.
Fast forward to about six months ago... Eugene took a new job as an Athletic Director in a new area. We bought a huge house (that's a whole other God-story to tell.) We moved from our hometown, and started new with our family of four. But right after we bought our house, I suddenly - strangely - felt that adoption/fostering might be something we needed to consider. It seemed super weird to me because we were already talking about growing our family the "traditional" way soon, going for around three years of an age gap. Adoption wasn't on our radar at all, so to think of adoption was not my timing and not my idea.
A week or so later, after thinking about adoption/fostering constantly, I brought it up to Eugene. I told him that I had no clue why I couldn't shake thinking about it, but I asked that he would pray about it. He said, "sure." A few days later, I went to one of my Norwex demos (I sell Norwex which is basically cleaning products that only use water and microfiber with silver in it.) At my demo, I began to chat with the first guest to arrive. I don't normally chat much with guests because I'm busy setting up, but I did this time, and she told me she was a retired social worker from our county for foster and adoption. She still works as a social worker for a Christian private foster agency. Next guest enters, and it's a woman with her 18 month old foster child. She shared that she was planning on adopting him when he turned two. Now this might not feel like much to you, but to me it was huge. I felt like God was waving a massive banner in front of my face saying, "I'm working on something here. Follow along!"
A few days later, my mind was still spinning. I didn't know why this whole adoption/fostering thing kept pressing on me. It didn't make sense for our "plan," but it was really intriguing to me. And the more I thought about it, them more my heart began to ache for the idea that adoption might be in His plan for our family. The biggest moment of this story was when I went to take a shower. I was kind of at a breaking moment. Eugene hadn't really said much about it yet; he listened to me when I shared bits of my encounters and thoughts, but I didn't really feel like he was feeling like it was much more than interesting. I headed to shower, and through tears, I prayed honestly - almost desperately - in my confusion of what God wanted me to do with everything, "Lord, I'm willing, but if You want us to adopt, You need to have Eugene bring it up." I absolutely did not want to jump into such a massive family decision based solely on my hunch, but I also couldn't stop feeling like it was something we needed to pursue.
Eugene is amazing, and I know he would be on board with it if he felt I was called to it, but that wasn't enough for me. I wanted Him to be called too. I wanted him to feel it on his own, as strongly as I felt it on my own. So I got out of the shower, got dressed, wrapped my hair in a towel to dry and headed downstairs to plop next to Eugene who was watching TV on the couch. I kid you not, at that moment he looked at me - unprompted by me - and told me he thought we should adopt. (WHAT!?) My hair was still wet, and HE brought it up. Those of you who know him, know it is very out of character of him to bring up anything serious ever. He brought it up! I teared up and shared with him all about my prayer, and from that moment on, we've been trying to simply take the next step in this journey while praying we are walking in God's will. That's the only place we ever want to be.
God's done a bunch of other small crazy things to keep shouting at us, for which I'm so thankful. Eugene and I put on a random Doc McStuffins show for the kids to watch, and low and behold, Doc's parents are adopting a baby! (What?!) We meet a family at the pool in our new community, non-social Eugene starts chatting it up with the dad (what?!), and the dad soon shares that they have two biological kids, and adopted son, and a foster daughter who will likely be adopted soon. We walked away from the pool unsure of whether we should laugh or cry! Other moments like God working out a meeting with our only friends who have adopted who just so happen to be where Eugene was, willing to meet at that time, and had a great experience using the only agency we had really researched at that point.
I think I'll keep some updates of our journey here, for my sake mainly, but also because I like to think that there are family, friends, maybe even strangers who might be intrigued to hear our story and see how it unfolds. I know I'm so anxious to see what God's going to do. I just have a feeling, it's something big and maybe even beautiful.
We are feeling quite the same way as we did when we first found out we were pregnant - giddy, excited, thankful, scared, slightly overwhelmed, and resting in our full hearts.
We've gotten quite a few questions from the few people we've told. So here's a quick rundown of the basics. We're using a private, local agency. We've completed the mounds of paperwork, had all the inspections, background checks, physicals, profiles, etc. We just finished the interview and home study, and our social worker will be working on inputting all our home study information into their system over the next few months. Our agency mainly does infant adoptions, so ours will be a domestic (Ohio), newborn, but we're leaving pretty much all the parameters open in terms of gender, race, drug use, incarceration, mental and physical background, etc. We could get a call regarding a birth mom at the hospital in labor, or we could be matched with a birth mom only a few months into her pregnancy. We have no idea what the timeline will look like - could be one call and a new child all in a day, or we could be on the wait list for over a year. God knows.
Pray with us, please? Pray for us to walk in God's will. Pray for birthparent(s) who are making quite possibly one of the most heroic decisions I can even comprehend. Pray for us to make wise decisions in this process. Pray for God to provide for the very large financial need we're facing. Pray for us to have opportunities to share God's love in lots of ways through all of this. Pray with thanks that God's at work and doing something big, and graciously allowing us to be a part of it all. Pray with us for a sweet little baby to grow our family in love.
We're so excited!