Do you believe in miracles? I do.
Every time I look at our beautiful baby's face, I am reminded that miracles happen.
I'll be honest here. There were many times that I wasn't sure if this was adoption was going to be our miracle, but it was more incredible than I could have ever imagined.
When I reflect on starting this journey a little over one year ago, I still can't believe that we are on the other side now. It was the most challenging leap of faith that I've ever taken.
But the adoption made everything worth it. All of the stress, uncertainty, and disappointment was part of the process that shaped our family.
It's an incredible story to share, and although we are reserving a large portion of the details for our child to claim, there is encouragement in the process. Especially if you're someone considering adoption, like we were a year ago.
I'll start where I left off. I stepped down from my full time job due to the brevity of the adoption leave policy. I was nervous about leaving, but it ended up being the best decision I could have made. I had time with my family (and quite honestly, to rebound from some serious job burnout), which was nothing short of amazing. It took me about two months to get used to the "new normal".
At the same time, we gained traction in our fundraising efforts to fully fund our adoption costs. That completely blows my mind, because our sole reason for not beginning the process had always been financial constraints; we had no idea where we would come up with tens of thousands of dollars. All of a sudden, grants and generous donations rolled in, and we exceeded our funding goals. Yep, exceeded.
We did not have to pay one penny.
We were humbled to the point of tears as things began to move. We finally had funds, but we still had no forward movement toward a birth family match, which was challenging emotionally. My mantra became "God is never late", and I held fast to that sentiment when doubt crept in.
Then we got THE CALL that changed our lives.
We had been selected by a birth family! It felt surreal.
To be clear, being selected by a birth family is a big step, however there are opportunities for the process to stop if one (or both) of the birth parents changes their minds. Until the papers are signed and the revocation period is over, the baby can be given back to the birth parents.
We remained hopeful, but realistic in our expectations.
We waited on pins and needles for this precious baby. I'll admit that we were apprehensive that the birth parents might change their minds, but we knew that if they did, this was not our baby. We prayed, but even prayer seemed daunting.
We could only pray for the best situation for this child, whatever that would ultimately be.
It was extra hard, because our kids' hearts were already so invested in this adoption.
My husband and I decided very early in the process that we were going to be completely transparent with our children. We didn't shelter our emotions or the reality of the situation, because they needed to go there with us. They needed to understand how to cope with uncertainty and learn that it will be OK, regardless of the outcome. We tried very hard to model stability in the face of uncertainty for them.
That was so dang hard.
There were days when I just wanted to eat ice cream in the corner and cry, because everything about the adoption was so emotionally taxing. The thought of potentially managing their disappointment and ours seemed suffocating.
We took things day by day. Sometimes hour by hour.
Then we got the call: Our sweet baby was here.
We brought our baby home exactly one year after we submitted the grants that helped us fund our adoption.
The moment that I saw our baby, I just knew. Although this precious little one was a complete stranger, I knew with great confidence that this baby was perfectly created for us. Words can't describe the love that we have, both for our sweet baby and the birth family, who made the courageous decision to trust us with this child.
This is where the details we share publicly end. We have vowed to make our child the boss of the adoption story that shaped how our new family began. It is truly an incredible one that we hope our child feels empowered to share one day with you.
For now, we'll keep those private details stored in our hearts.
Adoption is such a beautiful thing, but it's definitely more than we originally thought.
It's hopeful. It's overwhelming. It's exciting. It's scary. There's brokenness, healing, and incredible hope.
The process pushed us beyond our limits, but through that process, it shaped our family in ways that we could never have predicted. There's something extra special about this little one because of the way our family changed into what it was always meant to be.
Knowing what I know now, I'd do it all over again in a second.
I love the new us.